Friday, September 14, 2012

Plum Clafouti with Almond Meal


Ah, the British. We take what we want, we twist it out of all recognition, then we claim it as our own. As genocidal as this pattern has been for other cultures, on the plus side it has led to some great food. Kedgeree is one classic example; chicken tikka masala is quite probably another, although there is some debate over whether it was invented in Glasgow or Delhi.

The recipe which follows is a third. Made with cherries and white flour, we could call it 'clafoutis', or, more commonly in English, 'clafouti'. Made with other fruit and white flour, we'd properly call it a 'flaugnarde'. But gluten intolerant arrogant English bastardiser that I am, I make it with plums and almond meal – and I have no idea what I should call the resultant dish! Yet like a typically imperious colonialist, and because many of you are at least vaguely familiar with clafouti and will get a general idea of the nature of the dish from the use of the word, I will continue to refer to it as such. It certainly sounds better than 'soft eggy plum pudding thingy'.

Whatever it should be called, this dish is perfect for a sunny Sunday breakfast in the early spring when the chickens are back on the lay, and a few bottles of plums remain in the preserves cupboard. I've used much more fruit than is usually indicated because I wanted every bite to drip with plums; the batter does little more than bind the plums together.

Almond meal replaces regular flour, as almonds and plums are a delightful match. Between the extra fruit and the almond meal, the dish is much more moist than a regular clafouti, but the resulting heaviness is very satisfying: it will ward off any winter chills which still wreath through the morning air. If, however, you want a lighter clafouti, reduce the amount of fruit and replace some of the almond meal with coconut flour; click here for a more standard recipe.

Plum Clafouti with Almond Meal

- unsalted butter
- approximately 2 cups quartered bottled plums, or fresh plums quartered and lightly stewed (this is the equivalent of a Fowlers #20 Jar; for notes on bottling plums, click here
- 4 eggs
- 1¼ cups almond meal
- 1¼ cups milk (low fat is fine)
- 1 tbs sugar
- 1/2 tsp proper vanilla essence (none of that thin chemical stuff)
- a pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 24cm porcelain tart dish.

Drain the fruit well. Drink the juice if you like; it's rather yummy.

Place the other ingredients into a food processor or blender. Whizz until all is light and frothy. Pour the batter into the greased dish, then gently spoon the plums over the batter. Slip into the oven, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until it is golden. Serve warm or cold.

Adapted from a formula by Mollie Katzen in the now out of print Still Life with Menu.

(Local: plums, eggs, milk. Not local: butter, sugar, almond meal, vanilla essence, salt.)

Still Life with Menu Cookbook: Fifty New Meatless Menus with Original Art