It was a sweet slow summer afternoon in Lyon when I had my first introduction to clafoutis. Therese, a good friend and a good cook who shared interests in food and cooking, invited me to lunch in her apartment during my vacation there. For the main course, she made a delicious vegetarian lasagna, with bright clean tomato sauce, perfectly cooked mixed vegatables, creamy bechamel and gruyere cheese. Which I ate more than I should have. For dessert, knowing my fondness of pastry cream and vanilla custard desserts, she prepared an apricot clafoutis.
Clafoutis is a French baked fruit-filled custard dessert. Traditionally it's made with cherries, sometimes with the pits left in. Hers was so delicious that I had two generous servings (despite...) and asked her for the recipe.
Its high protein content and lightness (meaning low calories) make it an ideal dessert after a heavy meal for me. I make it often and have tried several other recipes. The basic recipe that I like best and use all the time now has 1/3 cup each of ground almonds and flour, 1 cup of whole milk, 1/2 cup of sugar, and 2 eggs. I make some variations each time by substituting fruits (blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, plums, poached pears), or adding almond or maple or jasmine extracts, or varying the amount of flour / ground almonds, or substituting some with ground flax seeds. The last time I used all flour with cranberries and jasmine extract and it turned out _very_ dense.
Today I wanted to make a high-protein low-calorie dessert, and having about a cup and a half of skim milk that needed to be used up, I thought of a clafoutis.
But a lighter and healthier version yet. I decided to use frozen blueberries, omit the ground nuts, add a tablespoon of cornstarch, reduce the amount of flour, substitute all-purpose flour with whole wheat, whole milk with skim milk.
The result was very different from other variations I have tried. It's delightful! The flour part seemed to have separated itself during the baking and formed a 'crust' (perhaps because the whole wheat flour is heavier), leaving the upper part custardy. I love it and will be using this version in the future.
Blueberry Clafoutis Recipe
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup whole wheat flour
1½ cup skim milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup blueberries
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a bowl, whisk eggs and sugar.
3. Whisk in the dry ingredients.
4. Slowly whisk in milk, until smooth batter forms. Stir in extracts.
5. Place blueberries in a greased and floured 9 inch pan. Pour batter over top, and bake for 40 minutes.
6. Allow to cool then dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired.