One recipe that fell into the latter category was the Pear Clafoutis I made for a friend's dinner party. A clafoutis, for those who don't know, is a French dessert composed of fruit set in custard, and, while it seems very complicated and elegant, it is actually very easy to make. Taste-wise, it's basically what you would get if a pear tart and a crème brulée had a baby (oh, baby!). And it's so much fun to say: Clafoutis!
I followed the Barefoot Contessa's recipe, which worked very well (that Ina never lets me down), but you can adjust the amounts, and use whatever fruit you happen to have available to you (I might try an apple clafoutis with the bags of farm share apples piling up in my kitchen). Whatever you use, I guarantee it will have your tastebuds exclaiming, "Rooty Tooty Fresh Clafoutis!"
You Will Need:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
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
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (1-2 lemons)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons pear brandy (recommended: Poire William)
2 to 3 firm but ripe Bartlett pears
Creme fraiche or fresh whipped cream
What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 10 by 3 by 1 1⁄2-inch round baking dish 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, salt, and pear brandy. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, quarter, core, and slice the pears. Arrange the slices in a single layer, slightly fanned out, in the baking dish. Pour the batter over the pears and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, 35 to 40 minutes. Slice like a pie, and serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with confectioners' sugar, and creme fraiche. Die and go to Pear Heaven.