AN EASY FRENCH DESSERT FOR THE HOLIDAY: PEAR CLAFOUTI
If you have not realized this already, I am a big fan of all things French and I am especially fond of French desserts. This Pear Clafouti is one of my favorite non-chocolate desserts and I love to make it for holidays. Today, my friend Tahlia came over to help me and she ended up loving it, too. The recipe is a classic one from Ina Garten, also known as The Barefoot Contessa. I just happen to change up a few things in the recipe: I reduce the amount of sugar she uses; sprinkle a pinch or two of crushed up cardamom in the batter because that flavor goes so well with pear; and I put an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract instead of the pear brandy she recommends because we don’t usually have pear brandy on hand!
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour (substitute Pamela’s gluten-free flour if you like)
1 1/2 cups heavy organic cream
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (1 to 2 lemons) (remember that is just the rind of the lemon)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 to 3 firm but ripe Bartlett pears
Confectioners’ (that means “powdered”) sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Butter a 10 x 3 x 1 1/2-inch round baking dish and sprinkle the bottom and sides with 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. We have also made this in a cast iron pan and it comes out just as well.
Beat the eggs and the 1/4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the flour, cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, quarter, core, and slice the pears. Arrange the slices in a single layer, slightly fanned out, in the baking dish.
Pour the batter over the pears and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, 35 to 40 minutes. Garnish with berries or edible flowers.
Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.