I spend quite a bit of time flipping through my recipe books … I can read my cookbooks like I read memoirs – eagerly anticipating the next page, devouring the recipes and ogling the pictures. I’m totally and completely engaged and entranced. Then I get to roll up my sleeves and actually make something … awesome.
That is how I ended up with this recipe.
I pulled out my copy of Baking by James Peterson (I heart this book … it’s a brilliant visual aide – highly recommended) and stopped short when I saw this. It looked stunning. A roasted pear clafoutis. The pear halves sticking out of a flan-like base. It was a thing of beauty. And I wanted to make it.
I can not tell you how ridiculously easy this recipe is. It is! It’s simple. It’s beautiful. And it’s so worth turning on your oven, grabbing your whisk and rolling up your sleeves.
Now … for clarification – it is not an actual clafoutis. Because (as I learned in my research … because I do tend to research these types of things) a real clafoutis can only be made using cherries. The flaugnarde is the same idea – using other berries or fruit. And that is your lesson for the day!
roasted pear flaugnarde
5 underripe pears
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, cubed
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c. flour, sifted
1 c. milk
2 tsp vanilla
powdered sugar to sprinkle on top
Preheat your oven to 400 F.
Peel the pears, remove the stem from both ends. Then cut the pears in half (lengthwise), and remove the cores, including the small strip at the narrow end of the pear.
Place the pear halves, flat side up (cut side), in a heavy bottomed pan – large enough so that the pear halves can be placed in a single layer (no overlap). I used my large pot – which I can place in my oven. Sprinkle the sugar on top, and then place the butter cubes over the halves.
Roast the pears for anywhere between 25 to 60 minutes (it depends on the ripeness of the fruit) – you want the butter and sugar mixture to become golden brown and the pears to be soft enough that you can poke through it with a knife.
Remove them from the pan using a slotted spoon, reserving the juices. If the sugar hadn’t browned – place the pan over medium heat and allow the mixture to brown.
Meanwhile, decrease the oven to 350 F. Butter your pie pan. Place the pear halves; this time cut-side down, in the pie pan. Arrange the pears with the narrow ends towards the centre, and if there is room, place one or two pear halves in the centre. Set aside.
Put the sifted flour into a medium-sized bowl. Add the eggs and salt, whisking everything together so that it creates a thick paste. Whisk until there are no lumps left (add a little milk if you need to thin it just enough to get the lumps out). At this point, you can stir in the milk and the vanilla. Grab the butter/sugar mixture and pour that into flour batter … watch out – the syrup smells good. There you have it – the batter is ready.
Strain the batter into another bowl – you want a really smooth batter.
Pour it over the pear halves – you want it to come almost halfway to the tops of the pears.
Bake for 45 minutes (puffed and golden brown on top).
I took this out of the oven and literally exclaimed “I am so excited. This is so amazing.” And then I waited to taste it.
Oh my goodness. It’s like the best french toast I have ever tasted. So light and fluffy. I couldn’t believe how much I loved it.
To serve – it should be at room temperature, sprinkle some powdered sugar and then cut out wedges – each wedge should include an entire pear half. You might think that makes a pretty large piece – but it doesn’t – the flan is so light that the real star of this dessert is the fruit.
Now I can’t wait to attempt an actual clafoutis. Cherries … here I come!
ps. This would be perfect for tomorrow or Sunday morning. It’s a great addition to your brunch menu. Believe me. So worth it.
oh yes … and it’s pronounced klah-fou-tee in case you were wondering.