Plum or Apricot Clafoutis, with fruit variations

Cherry Clafoutis or Flan

Cherry Clafoutis or Flan

By Cat, Jul 2015 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

This clafoutis is made differently than the other clafoutis recipes on my blog, so that it is more like a flan. It is a bit easier to make this way.

The original recipe uses dark sweet cherries and apricots, which definitely spell summertime for me. Other combinations include:

  • Cherries and peaches/nectarines
  • Blueberries and peaches/nectarines/apricots
  • Raspberries and peaches/nectarines/apricots
  • Plums (alone)
  • Plums with pears
  • Apples, peeled (alone), peeled
  • Apples, peeled, with berries
  • Re-hydrated dried plums and apricots (this is my go-to off-season version; I marinate the dried fruit in filtered water overnight, then add sweetener – I use maple syrup – and brandy/rum to marinate at least 24 hours, until fruits are fully re-hydrated).

The article (1) which includes the original recipe has several other interesting cherry recipes.

On fruits for Clafoutis

The original fruit used in clafoutis is the cherry, but many other fruits can be used, alone, or in combination with other fruit(s) as in this original recipe. Your first choice will be freshly ripened local fruits, in season. But there are other options as well.

So far I have tried apricots, plums, peaches, pears and blueberries (in various combinations); apricots and plums are my favorite because of their soft texture and extra-sweet flavor. Pears are also nice, especially with plums. It takes a lot of blueberries to fill a clafoutis, so I prefer to use them in combination with larger fruit like pears or peaches.

Using dehydrated/dried fruit

When fresh, ripe fruits are no longer available, you can rehydrate dried fruits. See Dried or unripe fruits: rehydrating or cooking for info on a wide variety of dried fruits. Then marinate after re-hydrating. For example:

  • Re-hydrate peaches, plums or apricots: mix equal amounts of fruit and water in jar; refrigerate, covered, overnight (this is my preferred method for plums); OR cover with boiling water and let rest 5 – 10 minutes (2); OR To use like fresh plums, put fruit in a jar and add ½ cup cool water for each 1 cup dried fruit. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate overnight, mixing well several times. OR for thicker fruit pieces, or to prepare more quickly–usually in 1 to 2 hours–use boiling liquid and let stand at room temperature. (3).
  • Re-hydrate pears or apples: For example, in a clafoutis: rinse pieces with water and place in 1 – 2 layers on a steaming rack over about 1 inch of boiling water. Cover pan and steam fruit until soft, 1 – 2 minutes for pears, or 3 – 5 minutes for apples. (2)

Cooking/poaching unripe fruit

If your fruit is not quite ripe, you can improve its flavor and soften its texture by poaching. This works well for peaches, plums, apples, and pears.  For the poaching liquid you can use water, beer, wine, or simple syrup (remade); you can also infuse the liquid with flavor from spices such as cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and ginger-root.

Poach in simmering liquid 10 – 45 minutes, depending on how ripe the fruit was before poaching.

Another option is to simmer the prepped fruit in butter; follow instructions in recipe below.

Plum or Apricot Clafoutis (or Flan)

I’ve adapted this recipe from Cherry and Apricot Clafoutis in the July 22, 2015 issue of our local paper, the Daily Interlake. It is originally by Wendell Brock, published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (1). It marinates the fruit in kirsch or rum before creating the clafoutis. This is a very French dessert, but made more like a flan by the inclusion of  flour in the custardy batter.

This uses a fair amount of sugar: ⅔ cup in divided portions. This is too much sugar for me, so for the custard portion, I use stevia. The sugar is important for the marinating step; originally I used a combo of maple syrup and stevia, but I’ve since simplified the use of stevia by adding the total amount to the batter (and none to the marinating liquid). I include all sweetening options in my adaptation. If using the stevia combo, I provide options for liquid stevia extract or powdered stevia extract.

I love the idea of the original cherry and apricot combo, but avoid cherries because of the heavy amount of pesticides sprayed on them to minimize fruit-flies. So I have been experimenting with other fruit options.  I find that either apricot or plum is best as the main fruit, because of their sweetness and softness when baked. Then add other fruits or berries. During winter months, I use fresh pears and dried, re-hydrated plums.

Berries are excellent additions to the main fruit. For  my first testing, I used blueberries and apricots, both of which I had on hand.

If using apples, peaches, nectarines or some varieties of plum you may wish to cook them a bit before putting into the baking pan, to soften. See Plum Clafoutis, with Almonds for details; I’ve also added this as optional instruction in the method for this recipe.

Serves 8 – 10.

Ingredients & Equipment (full recipe for 9 ½” pie or 10″ quiche pan):

  • Fruit: (this is just one combo example)
  • 4 – 6  plums, or 4 – 6 apricots, or 2 peaches/nectarines. (I’ve not tested this size for dried fruit, so quantity unknown)
  • 1 large pear
  • ⅓ cup Rapadura or white cane sugar (or 2 Tbsp sugar or maple syrup, and increase stevia in the custard, as indicated below)
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp Kirsch (cherry brandy) or other brandy, or rum
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (optional, to help the sugar dissolve)
  • butter (for the pan, and for pre-cooking apple, pear, peach or plum, if desired)
  • Custard/flan:
  • ⅓ cup Rapadura or white cane sugar (OR if used only 1 ½ tsp maple syrup in fruit marinade, use  1¼ – 1½  tsp liquid stevia extract or ¼ tsp stevia extract powder)
  • 1 cup whole fresh milk (or milk/cream combination), or diluted coconut milk as substitute for dairy milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp real vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unbleached white flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • Unrefined Powdered (Confectioners) Sugar: or Make Your Own (optional garnish)
  • Equipment
  • 9.5″ or 10″ quiche pan
  • blender or small electric mixer
  • medium mixing bowl (for marinating fruit)
  • strainer
  • electric blender (or electric hand mixer and medium bowl)

Ingredients for 8 – 8 ½” pyrex pie pan or ceramic quiche pan

Makes 6 – 8 servings.

  • Fruit:
  • 3 – 5  plums, or 3 – 4 apricots, or 1 peach/nectarine. OR 12 larger, or 14 medium dried apricots or plums, rehydrated (halve the dried fruit if using fresh pear)
  • 1 medium pear (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp Rapadura, white cane sugar, or Grade-B maple syrup (OR ½ – 1 Tbsp maple syrup, and increase stevia in the custard, as indicated below)
  • 2 – 3 tsp Kirsch (cherry brandy) or rum
  • ¼ – ½ tsp lemon juice (optional, to help the sugar dissolve)
  • butter (for the pan, and for pre-cooking apple, pear, peach or plum, if desired)
  • Custard/flan:
  • 2 ½ Tbsp Rapadura or white cane sugar (or ½ tsp liquid stevia extract or pinch stevia extract powder; OR if used only 1 ½ tsp maple syrup in fruit marinade, increase stevia to 1¼ – 1½  tsp liquid stevia extract or ¼ tsp stevia extract powder)
  • ¾ cup whole fresh milk (or milk and cream combination)
  • 3 medium eggs
  • ½ Tbsp real vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp unbleached white flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • Unrefined Powdered (Confectioners) Sugar: or Make Your Own (optional garnish)
  • Equipment
  • as for full recipe except use 8 ½” pyrex pie pan

Ingredients for Half recipe (7 ½” ceramic pie pan)

Makes 4 – 6 servings.

Method (all sizes):

This includes using dried and/or fresh fruit. In winter, I use dried fruit with or without fresh Bosc pears; at height of summer, I use fresh fruit.

  1. Dried Fruit: (if using): cut in halves or leave whole; place in jar and just cover with water. Cover with lid and set in fridge overnight, checking once for adequate water. Marinate: In morning, add sweetener and brandy/rum; cover again and let marinate in fridge  at least 6 hours, up to 3 days. Strain fruit over a bowl and reserve liquid.
  2. OR Fresh/Frozen fruit: Thaw frozen fruit. Wash fresh fruit, removing any pit or seeds. Cut larger fruit like peaches, nectarines, pears or apples into wedges. Cherries (without pit) and most berries can be left whole, but large strawberries may be cut. For my pear and plum combo, I cut the pear into 8 wedges and each plum in half if small or quarters if large. Optional, pre-cook apples, pears, peaches, nectarines or plums: Melt 1 – 2 Tbsp butter in skillet over medium-high heat. When bubbling, add prepped fruit and cook, turning, until beginning to soften, 1 – 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until fruit juices thicken to a thin syrup, 1 – 2 minutes. Off heat and let cool a bit. Transfer to medium bowl.
  3. Marinate fruit: For fresh fruit: In small bowl mix sweetener(s) and Kirsch/rum. Then pour over fruit. For dried fruit, Put fruit in a small mason jar and cover with water, add lid, and rest overnight in fridge to plump the fruit, shaking the jar several times. Then add the sugar/maple syrup, and rum/brandy, and cover with lid.
  4. Let rest 30 – 60 minutes to marinate (I recommend 60 minutes, or overnight in the fridge). Then strain fruit over a bowl and reserve the strained liquid.
  5. Oven: Meanwhile, Preheat oven to 350°F, and butter the quiche/baking pan; arrange fruit on the buttered pan.
  6. Custard: Dissolve the sweetener in the reserved marinade. Transfer to a blender (or if using a mixer, use a medium mixing bowl).
  7. Add the milk, eggs, vanilla and flour, and blend/mix at high speed 1 minute.
  8. Pour mixture over the fruit in the prepared pan.
  9. Bake in preheated oven about 1 hour, 15 minutes for full recipe (50 – 60 minutes for half-recipe), until it is firmly set at center – a knife blade inserted in center comes out clean.
  10. Remove from oven to cooling rack and let cool about 15 minutes.
  11. Serve: Sift powdered sugar over top if desired, then cut and serve.

Testing

7/23/15: Used my 7.5″ pie pan for a half recipe, with 2 apricots (pitted & halved) and 2 oz blueberries;  combined ½ Tbsp Rapadura sugar and pinch stevia, and 1 tsp each dark rum and brandy, marinating 30 minutes. ½ cup milk/cream combo, 1 whole medium egg and 1 yolk (oops, the whole second egg went in, so used 2 medium eggs), 1/16 tsp stevia, 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract, and ¼ cup unbleached white flour for custard. This just filled my pan to the top. The Rapadura crystals didn’t dissolve well in the marinade, so I added a few drops of lemon juice, which helped. The tiny amounts of stevia are hard to measure, so next time will use liquid stevia extract, and have added this as a preferred option to ingredients. Checked after 1 hour in oven (because smaller pan size might not need as much time); it had risen above top of pan and had browned nicely. It was done per the knife test. Removed to cool; did not garish with powdered sugar, since I avoid sugar. It fell back to top of pan as it cooled. Result: This is very good. Can’t really taste the flavor of the rum/brandy – so little was used – but the fruit and soufflé-like baked pudding is wonderful. It’s hard to stop at one serving…

Testing 7/30/15: Made same as previous except marinated 60 minutes. Had more custard than previous so baked  65 minutes. Result: I’m glad I marinated longer, as there was more of the rum flavor in the fruit. This is soo… good! I’ll be very sad when apricot season is over. Then I’ll make it with thawed frozen peaches. But really, it’s the apricots and their wonderful texture when baked, that make this dessert.

Testing 9/3/15. Used frozen and thawed peaches and mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries & blackberries), for 7.5″ ceramic pie pan. Forgot to marinate them in rum/brandy/sugar, and then there wasn’t time so I just went forward and arranged fruit in buttered pan. Added rum and sweetener that would have been the marinade to the egg/milk mix; custard included: ½ cup milk, 2 medium eggs, ⅜ tsp stevia/inulin mix, 1 ½ vanilla extract, 2 tsp rum. Baked in hot 350°F oven about 64 minutes. Rose above top of pan and tested done so removed to cool (and it fell as before). Result: Delicious, but I miss the apricots, and the fruit would have been better if marinated. I think it baked too long, as it was dense after cooling.

Testing 9/24/15: Used 3 fresh Italian plums, halved; and 1 bartlett pear, each cut lengthwise into ½” wedges. for 7.5″ ceramic pie pan. Marinated in 2 tsp rum, 1 tsp brandy with 1 ½ tsp maple syrup and pinch stevia extract powder in fridge for 9 hours. For custard used ½ cup milk/cream mix, 2 medium eggs, pinch stevia, 1 ½ vanilla extract, and marinade remaining after fruit removed. Baked in 350°F oven; tested done after 52 minutes. Result: It rose nicely in oven and fell only a little after removed from oven. It was done earlier than previous versions, and has a lighter texture. Fruit combo is very good; plums soften and sweeten in much the same way as apricots. Mmmmm…..

Testing 10/21-22/15: Using dehydrated plums and fresh pear for 7.5″ ceramic pie pan. I rehydrated 4 plums by steaming for 5 minutes, then cut in half and put in a jar in fridge overnight; they stayed small, so I used my last fresh plum to fill out the fruit space in the pan. I’d intended to  poach a not-quite-ripe pear, but the bartlett I bought was just ripe, so I used it as-is. Marinated both together using rum, brandy, maple syrup and pinch stevia as last time, overnight in fridge, before preparing clafoutis as written. Baked in 350 oven 50 minutes but did not puff up as before and it wasn’t quite done; baked 10 minutes longer, 60 minutes total, until done to knife test. It had risen more during that extra time. Result: This is delicious, like previous versions. The rehydrated dried plums provide their wonderful sweet, rich flavor when you bite into them, but do not provide the flavorful liquids of fresh plums to the custard (perhaps cooking them in water rather than steam would improve this). The fresh pear helps to make up for that loss, making this a reasonable substitute through the fall and into winter, as the different varieties of pear ripen. Bosc pears are a late-season variety that stores well, too. See Saveur’s Pear Guide (6) for more. Canned plums/pears can also be used, if you can handle the added sugar (I cannot).

Testing April 2016: Made too much marinated dried apricots and plums for my 7.5″ ceramic pan, so used my 8″ pyrex pie pan, increasing liquid ingredients and flour accordingly. Otherwise made as written. Turned out wonderful, as usual, so added this option to ingredients list.

Testing April 2017: I have to give up dairy and gluten for 2 – 12 weeks as part of a protocol for healing from auto-immune thyroid. Instead of the milk/cream, I used ¾ cup diluted coconut milk as substitute for dairy milk, and quinoa flour instead of wheat; otherwise as written for my 8″ pyrex pie pan. Used reconstituted dried plums and apricots. Into oven at 9:35; out at 10:35 AM. Result: Slightly different texture – custard doesn’t set the same – but delicious!

References:

  1. Daily Interlake, 072215, originally by Wendell Brock, published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 15, 2015 (ajc.com/news/lifestyles/food-cooking/very-cherry-treats-northern-variety-tastes-great-i/nmwFN/)
  2. Woodland Foods, on soaking prunes (woodlandfoods.com/products/PITTED_PRUNES_F07.html)
  3. Positively Prepared, on rehydrating dried fruits (positivelyprepared.blogspot.com/2010/04/re-hydrating-dried-fruits.html)
  4. Livestrong on cooking dried prunes (livestrong.com/article/437123-how-to-cook-dried-prunes)
  5. TheKitchn on poaching unripe fruit: thekitchn.com/quick-tip-what-to-do-with-unri-57602
  6. Saveur‘s Pear guide: saveur.com/gallery/Pear-Guide-10-Varieties-of-Pears?image=0

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