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Thursday, March 25, 2010 12:40 am

Clafoutis a la virant

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Clafoutis is a very traditional French fruit dessert, one that falls somewhere between cake and custard. I’ve made – and eaten — them for years, but never had one as delicious as the one Paul Virant served at Prairie Fruits Farm last year. His secret is the almond flour; most versions only contain wheat flour. Sweet cherries are most commonly used in clafoutis, but other fruits are used as well. Virant used a mixture of blackberries and raspberries grown on site for the Prairie Fruits dinner. I’ve been longing since last fall for this year’s berry season to begin so that I can make it again.

  • Unsalted butter, for greasing the dish
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour (6 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound berries: blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries (halved or quartered if large) OR substitute sweet cherries, pitted and halved

Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter a 10-by-15-inch baking dish and sprinkle it with sugar. Split the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the tip of a sharp knife. Put the ½ cup sugar in a large bowl or bowl of an electric mixer and add the vanilla seed scrapings. Rub them into the sugar until no clumps of seeds remain. Add the heavy cream, eggs, almond flour, and all-purpose flour and mix with an electric mixer at low speed until the batter is blended.
Scatter the berries or cherries in the prepared baking dish; pour the batter on top. Bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the clafoutis cool slightly before serving.
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