shoot&eat > Food

What’s In a Name, Clafoutis?

Clafoutis. It appears to be one of those love it or hate desserts. Or so it seems, because a simple statement by Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen (aka Cathy Barrow) on Facebook, “I don’t get clafoutis. There. I’ve said it.”  kicked off a lively round of discussion on the merits, or the lack thereof, of Clafoutis.

I am not very well acquainted with the custard-like fruity dessert that bears such an odd name.  The dessert originated in the Limousin region of south-central France, a rural area that is known for it farming and oak forests. The principal city there is Limoges, which is nestled along the Venne River. The origin of the word is from a dialect clafir ‘to stuff’ or ‘to fill’.  So it would seem that we are stuffing a flan-like batter with fruit.

Clafoutis

Clafoutis is traditionally baked using black cherries, but it has been adapted over the years to include all sorts of fruit other than cherries. Technically, when using any fruit other than black cherries, it is called a flaugnarde. One thing you must be careful of when making clafoutis is using fruit that will seep too most liquid into the batter causing it to be runny instead of setting like it should. This did not come up in the discussion on Facebook.

But what did come up on Facebook is the challenge to bake a certain clafoutis recipe that one of Cathy’s friends posted and promised that everyone will love. So I made it. To me, this recipe is a dutch baby with fruit. It was much too thin to be a clafoutis recipe.

Clafoutis

The result was good, but I still am not a huge fan of clafoutis. I prefer my custard (and my ice cream) with nothing mixed in with it. I love the creamy smoothness of custard and ice cream and anything adulterating it only masks my enjoyment of the beautifully creamy texture.

The recipe is below if you are inclined to make it. I added vanilla beans. It’s super simple and quick to make and would be perfect for a weekend breakfast.

Clafoutis

Clafoutis (or Dutch Baby with Fruit)

2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup whole milk

1 vanilla bean, scraped into mixture
pinch salt
Whisk together above ingredients until smooth.
1 cup fruit

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Butter a small pan (I used an 8″ cast-iron skillet). Combine all of the ingredients and whisk until smooth. Pour into the skillet and drop in the fruit. Bake until the sides are golden brown, about 40 minutes.

 

 

Cheesy, Creamy, Hasselback Potato Gratin

This potato recipe is adapted from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s recipe. As usual, for me, a recipe for me is a mere suggestion and this one was no exception. I changed it to make it my own. In fact, it was so good that I made it twice within a one-week period. Both times I used different cheeses. Any cheese that melts well would work great in this recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Hasselback Potatoes

 

Cheesy, Creamy Hasselback Potato Gratin

Serving Size: 4

This is a great recipe to play around with, substituting different ingredients such as different types of cheese and different herbs. It will also work if you'd rather use all Half & Half rather than cream or any combination of all cream or cream and Half & Half. Have fun with it.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 ounces Fontina Cheese – Finely Grated
  • 2 ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese – Finely Grated
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/3 cup Half & Half
  • 1 Medium Garlic Clove – minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves – Roughly Chopped
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Nutmeg – Grated
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 ½ pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes – Sliced 1/8-inch thick using a mandolin slicer
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine the grated cheeses into a large bowl.
  3. Remove and reserve 1/3 of the grated cheese in a small bowl (to be used later)
  4. Butter a 1-quart casserole dish.
  5. Add the heavy cream, half & half, garlic, thyme, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, and pepper to the large bowl with the cheese and mix together.
  6. Place the potato slices into the cheese and cream mixture and toss around with your hands to get all of the potato slices coated with the mixture.
  7. Stack the potato slices like a deck of cards and begin placing them into the casserole dish, standing them on their end. Here you can get creative and create your own design with the rows of potatoes.
  8. Pour the remaining cream mixture over the potatoes.
  9. Cover the casserole dish tightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove the aluminum foil from the dish and continue to bake for 30 more minutes, or until the potatoes are pale golden brown.
  11. Carefully remove the dish from the oven. Sprinkle the reserved grated cheese over the top of the potatoes. Place them back into the oven and bake for 30 more minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow the dish to rest for about 15 minutes before serving.
http://blog.rodneybedsole.com/2016/01/cheesy-creamy-hasselback-potato-gratin/

A Pie Party is Thrown (But Not in Your Face)

Another year and another terrific Pie Party has been thrown by the imitable Jackie Gordon (aka The Singing Chef and The Diva That Ate New York) and Ken Leung (aka The Hungry Rabbit). This year, the fifth Pie Party since its inception in 2011, was hailed by those who attended as the best one yet. This Pie Party was particularly special for me because it was held at my alma mater, The Institute of Culinary Education at their brand spanking new state-of-the-art cooking school in downtown Manhattan in the newly remodeled Brookfield Place.

This year the Pie Party had some titans of the culinary world as sponsors. Along with The Institute of Culinary Education as host and sponsor, there was Cabot Cheese, King Arthur Flour, Wüsthof , Anolon, Dub Pies, Tovolo, Honey Ridge Farms, and Wild Hibiscus. Cocktail sponsors included Reyka Vodka, Tromba Tequila, and Mizu Shochu.

Pie Party ICE 2015

The anticipation of chowing down on pie was high as people mingled, met, had cocktails, and nibbled on hors d’oeuvres that were supplied by the Institute of Culinary Education. Jackie and Ken were the consumate hosts as they made their rounds through the room to greet old friends and new alike. Before the cutting of the pies, there was a baking demonstration, people entering to win prizes from the sponsors, sponsor representatives on hand to answer questions about their products, and plenty of food love to go around for all.

There were impromptu tours of the Institute of Culinary Education throughout the day. The school has come a long way since I attended (I graduated in 2005) and they moved from their 23rd Street location to their new facility. The new digs even has a chocolate lab that was set up by Michael Laiskonis. What a dream that place is. Wow!

Pie Party ICE2 015

It’s always hard to leave such a fun event like this one, but all good things must come to an end. On the way out everyone was rewarded with a swag bag filled with all kinds of delectable culinary treats. Thanks to all of the sponsors for their support, the Institute of Culinary Education for providing a great space and to Jackie and Ken for hosting another successful Pie Party.