A delicious twist to the classic French clafoutis recipe using raspberries and a lemony touch of verbena – it’s gluten free too!
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Clafoutis is a French speciality from the Limousin region. It’s also one of my French Mother-in-law’s specialities and so one of my husband’s favourite classic desserts. When we visit Antoine’s parents in Provence in the summer, Madeleine proudly rustles up her baked dark cherry custard dessert especially for son grand fils, her eldest son, with cherries freshly plucked from the orchard at the bottom of the garden.
But after twenty years, I finally plucked up the courage to make this ridiculously easy pudding at home. Why did I wait so long to make it? Perhaps, I dare say, because it was a bit heavy – especially as I prefer lighter desserts. Could Belle Maman really discover I’d slightly changed her recipe?
So many clafoutis recipes call for pitted cherries. Like it’s traditionally made in the Limousin, Madeleine normally throws in the whole cherries as they are and most of us politely dispose of the stones at the table. I say most of us, as Antoine – in his more natural Corsican style – rocks on the back of his chair, plotting his target as he catapults and projects them less than delicately into the garden – “Heh, je plante!”, he shrugs at us all. It’s his Corsican sense of humour of saying he’s planting cherry trees. Oh, pl-ease!
I may mock but whole, unpitted cherries do keep in their flavour, and it’s far quicker than standing over the kitchen table with dark cherry-stained hands looking like Jack or Jill the Ripper. So just throw them in as they are naturally then get the family to do the gardening at the table. Otherwise pit them if you prefer, especially if you have a cherry stone extractor as part of your kitchen gadgetry.
This almond-topped clafoutis has been tried, tested and approved by Antoine, Julie and Lucie. Just don’t tell his Mum.
FRENCH CLAFOUTIS (Cherry Baked Custard) RECIPE
The almond topping idea is pinched from my friend, Véronique (merci!). You could replace the almond extract with a tablespoon of Kirsch or Amaretto liqueur for a more adult version.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 35-40 minutes
500g fresh black cherries, washed, not pitted
For the mould (china or earthenware dish):
70g plain flour
good pinch of salt (fleur de sel)
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 medium eggs, organic
1 egg yolk
270g full-cream milk
25g butter, melted
few drops of almond extract (optional)
25g silvered almonds (optional, for garnish)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F (gas 4). Butter an ovenproof china or pyrex dish (22cm diameter and 5cm deep) large enough to hold the cherries in a single layer. Sprinkle in the sugar, shaking it all around so that it coats the surface of the dish and place the cherries in it.
2. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs and yolk and, using a balloon whisk, mix well until the mixture is smooth. Continue whisking adding the milk, almond extract and melted butter. Pour over the cherries.
3. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until browned. Toast the flaked almonds in a non-stick frying pan for a few minutes on medium heat until they’re golden and sprinkle on the Clafoutis with a dusting of icing/confectioner’s sugar.
Serve warm directly from the dish.
Don’t forget to join me on Instagram (or Facebook), where I’m having fun posting shots from day to day around Paris – from the market, to chocolate and pastry walks, to views of Paris, to mad family life.
Feeling daring? Why not try out these savoury asparagus clafoutis recipes as a summery supper dish?
Chouquettes are mini versions of choux buns. For anyone who hasn’t made choux buns before, then this is a great way to start – my children adore playing with the piping bag! They are so small that they’re not even filled: instead they’re simply coated with pearl sugar. Only one warning: like macarons they can be addictive…
Just to give you an idea: in France, we buy them at the Boulangerie by the kilo. There’s no such thing as having two or three. The children pounce on them at goûter time (afternoon snack to tide them over until dinner later) straight after school. Recently they have been making their own. They realised quick enough it was far better than spending their pocket money and it tastes far better when they have made them all by themselves. If only they could grasp the cleaning up bit afterwards.
Here, the children topped them with pink sugar sprinkles for a Valentine’s pinky look (I found tutti frutti red pearl sugar recently at Galeries Lafayette in Paris). For something different, give them a coloured knitted sweater look using craquelin or streusel crumble topping.
Recipe French Chouquettes (Choux Dough)
1 egg yolk (for glazing)
Before you go, just a quickie announcement…(I meant to post this on Tuesday – my apologies! Blame my kids for being on the computer too long: Aye, it’s the holidays.)
Announcing the Winners for the Macaron Event at Aye Write!
Waverley Books have four tickets to give away to readers for the macaron event on Saturday 10 March at the Glasgow Book Festival, Aye Write!
It was a tough one but not that tough. You were all so sweet with comments but much that it was tempting to pick ticket winners, you were mainly based in the USA! So, the following winners are more likely to manage to make it along, since you’re based in Scotland! Bravo to Janice of Farmersgirl Kitchen and Marie Lauchlan.
Looking forward to seeing you both there!
It’s not too late to book your ticket – head on over to the Aye Write! website to book online now.
Mamma Mia! When Manu asked me to guest post, my adoration for Italy kicked in again. I adore all the tempting treats that Manu serves us on her Menu and especially all of the beautifully authentic Italian delicacies, complete with her famous step-by-step immaculate instructions and gorgeous photos. For those that follow le blog, you’ll remember that Manu shared her Genovese Ericine Sicilian speciality for the egg yolk recipe series.
What could I serve on her guest menu that would be authentic from France? To help me pick something, Manu and I have a number of things in common: we both followed our hearts to another land with another language and settled into another culture. I came to France from Scotland and although it’s not far compared with Manu, the culture difference was pretty mind-boggling. I didn’t just marry a Frenchman; I married a Corsican.
The island of Corsica has been in and out of so many hands in history but although it’s closer to Italy than France, geographically – it is politically part of France. Their culture is a real mix of Italian and French. I could go on but basically the Corsicans and the Scots have plenty in common when it comes to their feelings of independence!
One of Corsica’s popular dishes is stuffed courgettes. They come alive with the taste of the Corsican speciality cheese, Brocciu, which is made from unpasturised goat’s or ewe’s milk. Either way, it’s fresh and fabulously creamy – a bit like Italian ricotta but it’s not. It’s just brocciu (pronounced ‘broach‘.)
This is so simple and a favourite when we visit my husband’s family in their remote mountain village. I have a few family recipes for this classic but each one is different: this one is my own adaptation since the best ones I have tasted on the island use mint rather than parsley or basil.
Corsican Stuffed Courgettes (Zucchini) with Mint
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
8 glossy courgettes (zucchini)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
2 slices mixed grain bread (or plain if you prefer), mixed to breadcrumbs
250g fresh Corsican Brocciu cheese or tub of ricotta
20g parmesan, finely grated
1 egg yolk
2 tbsps pine nuts
1. Drop the courgettes into a large pot of salted boiling water and leave them to soften for 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool while preparing the other ingredients. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2. Trim off the ends then halve each of them lengthwise. Using a small spoon (I love to use a grapefruit spoon as it has more control), hollow out the flesh leaving a shell about 1cm thick. Chop up the removed courgette pulp.
3. Fry the chopped courgette pulp in some olive oil over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly or until the courgettes are no longer giving off any more liquid. Add the garlic and mint and continue to stir over the heat for another couple of minutes. Set aside to cool and season with salt and pepper.
4. Using a blender, blitz the bread into crumbs. In a bowl, mix the cheeses, egg yolk, pine nuts, breadcrumbs and add the cooked courgette mixture.
5. Dry the courgette shells with kitchen paper then stuff each one generously. Place them in a single layer on an oiled baking dish.
6. Bake for about 40 minutes, until browned.
Serve hot on their own and a chilled glass of white Patrimonio Corsican wine just sets the mood. I love Vermentino – do you?
This post was published as part of my guest post over at Manu’s Menu and so comments were closed in favour of posting on Manu’s site. One year on, comments are now open and so please don’t be shy – show me that somebody’s reading this and even better, try out the recipe!
Fancy a change of scene? Well, this week we’re heading into the country. We’re dropping in on my friend, Brandie, in Southwest Virginia, for a recipe to help us use up our egg yolks. Imagine the scene near the Appalachian mountains: it’s like a setting for a movie!
When I first discovered Brandie’s blog a few weeks’ ago, The Country Cook, I was instantly made welcome with her down-to-earth style of recipes and wonderful sense of humour. Since then, her warmth and charm continue to ooze out of her blog; you get the feeling you live just next door and are dropping in to say hello, exchanging recipes, tips and discussing kids and life in general.
If you don’t know Brandie already, you soon will. Don’t you just feel from her dazzling smile that you know her already? Voici la belle Brandie – here she is, my friends!
First, let me say thank you to Jill for inviting me here today. Getting invited to do a guest recipe post on Jill’s “Le Blog” is kinda like getting invited to an elegant dinner party. You immediately start thinking,
“What should I wear?”
“What sort of hostess gift should I bring?”
“I’m definitely going to have to shave my legs.”
“Please, please, please do not let me drop anything down the front of my dress.”
You get the point.
It was such an honor for me to be asked by Jill to showcase a recipe on her blog and I certainly did not want to disappoint her or her lovely readers.
Jill tasked me with coming up with a recipe that uses egg yolks (since so many are leftover from making her lovely macarons).
I mulled it over for a bit and decided to share a recipe that is one of my favorites – Ceasar Salad Dressing.
I just adore Caesar Salad with homemade croutons and sometimes with grilled chicken. Jill tells me this goes best with a glass of California Chardonnay – and I would have to agree.
If you’ve never attempted to make your own salad dressing, I implore you to try it now. The depth of flavor just cannot be captured in a bottle. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not above using the bottled stuff but sometimes I want to bring something special to the table and this really does the trick. Especially if the salad is going to be the main star of your meal.
This is a two-for-one special today. I’m also going to share a homemade crouton recipe. They are so easy to make and the great thing about homemade croutons is you won’t break a tooth on them like you do the prepackaged ones.
Caesar Salad Dressing
2 garlic cloves (if your cloves are on the small side, use 3)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 egg yolk
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. granulated white sugar
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. Dijon Mustard
salt & pepper to taste (about ¼ to ½ tsp each)
In a food processor, finely process the garlic until minced. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
How easy is this recipe?
Put dressing into a lidded container and pop it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight to give the flavors time to blend together (trust me –this makes a big difference in taste).
Cook’s Notes: If you are squeamish about using a raw egg yolk in your dressing, I would suggest purchasing pasteurized eggs. However, if you are using very fresh eggs, you should have no problems with your egg yolks. Just crack it into a separate bowl first, to ensure the color and texture look normal for an egg.
½ loaf of stale French bread, cubed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Garlic Powder (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F). In a medium bowl, add cubed bread. Drizzle olive oil all over the cubes until lightly coated. Sprinkle on salt, pepper and a little garlic powder.
Place cubes on baking sheet and bake for about 10-14 minutes until lightly browned.
Thank you again to Jill for letting me share this recipe with y’all today. I really hope you enjoy it and I hope you’ll come by and see me sometime over at The Country Cook.
Thanks so much, Brandie, for sharing such a tasty recipe. Shave your legs for doing the post….see what I mean, folks? She has you in stitches! I don’t know about you, but I’m making double portions since it’s one of my favourite salads.
Now that we’ve tasted that delicious dressing and crispy crrrroutons, I’ll continue sipping that glass of chilled Chardonnay and head on over to Brandie’s blog. She’s continuing to cook up a storm in her kitchen, so check out more of her mouth-watering recipes at The Country Cook. Don’t forget to say cheers from me!