It’s stone fruit season, with plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots and lots more in season right through to late September, writes Cliodhna Prendergast.
Clafoutis is French dessert consisting, traditionally, of cherries, with a thick, flan-like batter poured over the top and oven baked. Clafoutis is a dessert that never really excited me and yet it is so much loved I could only assume that I had not yet experienced a good one. With so many of these gorgeous fruits available it seemed like the perfect way to use them up.
I was determined to get to grips with the easiest, most delicious version, so I recipe tested and tested. Admittedly, I had a few disasters along the way, with some tasting more like toad in the hole than a classic French fruit dessert.
I decided to make this one with peaches for two reasons. First, cherry season is waning, and, secondly, although delicious, stoning all those cherries was putting me off. Many make clafoutis with cherry stones still in – indeed they seem to add to the flavour – but I am undecided about a dessert that requires me to keep spitting out stones.
Maybe if I was sitting on my own somewhere guzzling the entire thing myself it would be just fine. Instead, I have opted for soft ripe peaches with elderflower cordial for an extra bit of punch and a summery flavour. I realise now that the big deal about clafoutis is that, it is in fact, so simple.
Peach and Elderflower Clafoutis (Serves 6)
500g of peaches, about 5, washed, halved and stones removed
4 tbsp of elderflower cordial
25g butter, melted
85g caster sugar
A tiny pinch of salt
Three drops of vanilla essence
Cut each half peach into three segments, place in a bowl and pour over elderflower cordial. Mix and allow to macerate for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Grease the baking dish, just big enough to fit the fruit comfortably in one layer, with some of the melted butter and scatter the fruit inside.
In a mixing bowl add sifted flour, salt and caster sugar. Whisk in eggs, then the rest of the butter, the milk and the vanilla essence, whisking until you have a smooth batter.
Put the peaches into the baking dish and whisk the excess liquid from the peaches into the batter.
Pour the batter over the fruit and bake for about 30 minutes. It should be set but just a little bit wobbly when it is done with a light golden colour.
Serve while warm with a dusting of icing sugar and a little cream or crème fraiche on the side.
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