A Big Purple Bruise of a Blueberry Clafoutis

Clafoutis doesn’t cost a fortune to make, particularly if you buy frozen blueberries. The sheer economy of this dessert is a good thing.

It smells delicious coming out of the oven, but it looks like a big purple bruise, and I’m not keen on the wobbly lavender-colour custard texture. Even while making the batter, and pushing lumps through a large sieve, I kept thinking “no way is this going to turn out bready like I thought it would.”

And it didn’t turn out like I thought it would. And I won’t be making it again either.

But after all the palaver of making it, baking it, photographing it, and writing it up, I reckoned I might as well post this and warn other people of a non-custard-loving-nature to walk on by this one. To be honest, the flavour is fabulous — I just can’t seem to get beyond the look of it, a big oozing, purple-puss of a bruise in a pretty sky-blue baking dish. Ho-hum. Live and learn.

Blueberry Clafoutis

Ingredients

A knob of butter
500 g blueberries, or cherries, or apricots, or plums (cut side down), or raspberries
60 g plain flour
pinch of salt
60 g caster sugar or 30g Silverspoon “Half”
4 eggs, beaten
1 pint full-fat or semi-skimmed milk
30 g blanched flaked almonds (not toasted)

Method

Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Evenly coat an ovenproof dish (minimum 20cm and not too deep) with butter or marg, and then toss the blueberries over the bottom of the buttered dish. Taste a berry and see if additional sweetening is required. If very tart, sprinkle a light dusting of sugar/sweetener over the berries.

Prepare the batter well in advance as it needs to sit and relax for about an hour before pouring it over the berries. Sieve together the flour and salt into a medium bowl, and then mix in the sugar/sweetener. In a separate bowl, mix together the beaten eggs and the milk. Now make an indentation in the centre of the flour and pour in the egg-milk mixture, stirring lightly, as over-mixing can bring out the protein in the flour causing it to be tough. Grab a large sieve and pour this mixture through it into the dish with the blueberries, pressing any lumps through the mesh into the blueberries. Sieve the batter as you would when making custard. Sprinkle the top of the flaked almonds.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until the clafoutis is puffed up and browned, although mine was deep purple because the blueberries burst while baking.

Dust with icing sugar, and allow to cool for one hour. Serve with a spoonful of half-fat crème fraîche.
Richard Ehrlich of The Guardian advises in his piece of August 2003 that only two things need to be remembered when making clafoutis. 1) Don’t over-beat the batter. The solution is beat just enough to mix and then strain the batter through a sieve into the baking dish, pressing lumps through with a spoon. 2) Adjust the sweetness according the amount of sugar in your fruit — in other words, taste your fruit so you know if more or less sugar is required.

His basic recipe is: four eggs, 50g flour, 50g sugar (more if you wish), 600ml milk, pinch of salt, about 500g of fruit, plus an optional spoonful of double cream. Allow the batter to relax before baking at 175C/350F/gas mark 5.

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