Friday, December 7, 2012

French Desserts

"Everything in life comes to you as a teacher. Pay attention. Learn quickly." 
Cherokee Saying

The word dessert comes from the French word desserviv which means "to clear the table." The word was first used during the 17th century to describe offering of sweets (usually fruits and cheeses) after the main course. Over time the custom of eating desserts at the end of the meal became more popular.

French desserts are legendary and like all French food it is all about the presentation. The desserts are typically made with creams, custards, high quality chocolate and fruits. One of the most famous French desserts is the Napoleon which really has nothing to do with Napoleon Bonaparte. The name actually is a mistranslation of the French word Napolitian which places it origin in Naples, Italy.

I found traveling through French that often French meals end with a cheese platter, bread and fruit. Those fabulous desserts from the La Boulangerie (the bakery) or patisserie (pastry shop) are reserved for special occasions. We certainly did our share of window licking (looking into store windows wishing to buy).

Clafoutis is a rustic baked French dessert of black cherries arranged in a buttered dish covered with a thick pancake like batter. After it is baked it is dusted with powdered sugar and served lukewarm.

The clafoutis comes from the Limousin region of France. Traditionally it is made with black cherries but other fruits such as red cherries, plums, pears, cranberries or blackberries can be used to make the dish. It is very easy to prepare and also makes a wonderful morning treat.

Cherry Clafoutis (pronounced "kla-foo-TEE)
recipe adapted from
  • 4 eggs separated 
  • 2/3 cup sugar 
  • 6 TB. flour 
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup heavy cream 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 1-1/2 lbs. fresh cherries pitted or 1-1/4 lbs frozen cherries thawed and drained' 
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest 
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2 tsp. creme of tartar 
  • Preheat oven to 350 and butter a large rectangular pan, quiche dish or large cake pan as pictured above 
  • In a large bowl combine egg yolks with 1/3 cup sugar 
  • Beat on medium high speed until ribbons form with batter about 7 minutes 
  • Add flour, cream, cinnamon, vanilla and reduce mixer speed to low and blend well 
  • In another bowl beat egg whites with 1/2 tsp. creme of tartar and salt about 30 seconds BUT use a handheld whisk 
  • Add whites to batter and beat with mixer on low until incorporated, 1-2 minutes 
  • Preheat oven dish in oven for 3 minutes 
  • in a bowl stir cherries with 1/3 cup sugar and lemon zest 
  • Remove heated baking dish from oven pour in cherries first, then top with batter 
  • Bake about 30 minutes or until it is set in middle 
  • Serving suggestions: Serve warm with pistachio ice cream or at room temperature dusted with powdered sugar

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes I soak the cherries in amaretto with this recipe. I love how light the batter is!