Hello, friends! Do you like my new springtime-y blog design? (Note to Google Reader-Readers: you do not want to miss this hot English Pea action).
Helen and I got back from Granny Cruise 2010 late on Saturday. We had tons o' fun, but I am so glad to be home! I've got some rockin' pictures of our trip posted on Facebook- friend me if you'd like to see them!
Anyway, on Sunday, Andy and I went to Central Market and it felt like I was in a wonderland after a week without being able to cook. Our cart overfloweth(-ed?) with fresh produce (right now I'm having a lovely lunch with radishes, fresh butter, and sea salt!), including a dozen sugar plums! What's a sugar plum? I had no idea, but I wanted to find out. Here's what they look like:
Here's a sugar plum compared to your everyday-plum:
Little darlings, aren't they? Anyway, I decided I wanted to try them out in a clafouti, which is a classic French dessert that I hadn't made before. I had all the ingredients except for the cup-and-a-half (!) of heavy cream that the recipe called for. Andy graciously volunteered to go to the Mexican grocery store around the corner from our house to pick some up. Turns out they don't sell the kind of cream I'm accustomed to there, so I ended up using this instead:
Man, this stuff is good! It's thicker than regular cream and smells intensely buttery. I will definitely use this again.
So, for the clafouti, I cut my plums in half, pitted them, and arranged them on a pie plate. I tasted them at this point too, and they weren't very ripe. They were still slightly sweet, but pretty firm. I reasoned that they'd soften up and sweeten during baking. (This assumption turned out to be wrong! Don't make clafouti unless you have ripe fruit!). Then I mixed the batter and poured it on top of the arranged plums and baked it for 35 minutes.
The result? Well, the thing was beautiful, especially once the top was dusted with confectioners' sugar, but the fruit didn't pop through the top like it's supposed to (clafouti is traditionally made with cherries). The taste was quite lovely. To my mind, you could describe it as the love child of flan and a dutch baby. The fruit was a problem though. It was too hard and not sweet enough. Boo. But don't let that discourage you from trying it! Make it with cherries, or with Ina Garten's recommendation of sliced pears, or perhaps with very ripe plums :)
Sugar Plum Clafouti
Adapted from Ina Garten's Pear Clafouti from Barefoot in Paris
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3 extra large eggs, at room temperature
- 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (or Mexican crema fresca!)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 very ripe sugar plums (or 2-3 bartlett pears or the fruit of your choice)
- confectioners' sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10 x 1 1/2 inch round baking dish (or a pie plate, if you don't have one of these) and sprinkle the bottom and sides with 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar.
- Beat the eggs and the 1/3 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the flour, cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and salt. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile prepare your fruit. If you're using sugar plums, cut them in half and remove the pit. If you're using pears, peel, quarter, core, and slice them. Arrange the fruit in a single layer in the baking dish. Pour the batter over the fruit and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, 35-40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.