Living in California means having fruit trees in your yard, or in the yard of friends, coworkers and neighbors. If your produce yield is not high (unlikely here in the land of sunshine), you’ll surely receive piles of peaches, apricots, plums, oranges, lemons, avocado and figs from those living and working around you. Hint: it might help to be a little friendlier this time of year.
I had a large batch of plums this summer, and could hardly pick them fast enough to keep them from dropping to the ground where they became a sugary snack for the wildlife that’s claimed my home as their own. I also just read a book by one of my favorite pastry chefs, David Lebovitz. He moved to Paris, writing about his glorious and perplexing adventures in The Sweet Life in Paris. He described a summer fruit Clafoutis recipe, a simple French custardy dish that wasn’t too sweet and was served warm with morning coffee, which drove me straight to my kitchen with my plums in the midst of a heatwave.
I began baking a new clafoutis each week, with whatever fruit my friends and colleagues brought me. My favorite was using both plums and apricots, as well as whole wheat pastry flour, half and half and organic sugar. I knew just how David felt in Paris. Another similarity with David: I had recently begun doing my dishes in the bathtub (just like in Paris!), but that’s another story. On with the clafoutis recipe!
- 4 T butter, melted + more for preparing dish
- 1¼ lb firm, ripe plums and apricots (or figs, cherries, raspberries)
- 3 eggs
- ½ C whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 t vanilla
- ½ C + 2 T organic sugar
- 1 C half & half
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Liberally butter the bottom and sides of a 2 QT shallow baking dish. Halve the plums/apricots (or figs or cherries) and remove the pits. Place the plums/apricots cut side down over the bottom of the baking dish. If you’re adding figs, cherries or raspberries, sprinkle them over the plums or apricots.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth. Whisk the butter and flour into the eggs until completely smooth, then add the vanilla. Whisk in ½ C of the sugar, then the cream.
- Pour the custard mixture over the fruit and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, sprinkle 2 T of sugar over the top. Continue baking the clafoutis for about 30 minutes more, until the custard feels slightly firm in the center and the top is a nice golden brown.