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Sunday, July 08, 2007

the simple things in life

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I've had a lovely weekend. I've lazed, I've loafed, I've exercised (2 hours yesterday, would ya believe it???!?), I've eaten, and I've visited a market.

I'm so lame that this really is my idea of a fabulous weekend. Nowhere I had to be, nothing I had to do, just me, hubs and 48 hours of endless possibility. While hubs and I were meandering our way through the market, just salivating at all the fresh local produce, I spotted something a bit unusual.

By now, it's pretty clear that it's strawberry season in Ottawa (ILOVESTRAWBERRIESLIKEYOUWOULDNOTBELIEVE), but it turns out it's also saskatoon berry season. These lovely little berries look mostly like blueberries, but taste more like a cherry. They are sweet, plump and just luscious on the tongue. Of course I had to buy some (really, what's a gal to do when faced with such a proposition?).

Don't they look lovely?
pint of saskatoon berries

After we got home and unpacked all our loot (including organic radishes, peppers, lettuce, ranch-raised elk and a whole bunch of other stuff), I was wondering what I could do with these lovely little jewels of sweetness.....and a magical idea popped into my head.


If you want to make your kitchen smell like the best part of a french bakery, make yourself some clafoutis. It's easy, LOW IN FAT (who knew????!?) and just creates the most amazing sweet aroma. This would be the perfect dessert to make for a brunch or lunch, or just anytime you want to make something sweet and summery.

Dammit if I couldn't just eat the whole cake (I didn't - only a third, which practically qualifies me for nutritional sainthood). The smell of this cake is absolutely intoxicating....and the taste is exquisite. It's simple, sweet and so delicate.

I've made it with saskatoon berries, but you could also make it with cherries (traditional), strawberries, raspberries or any fruit that turns your crank. You can also adjust the amount of fruit. I didn't use a ton of fruit, but you could use up to 2.5 cups or so.

Don't worry too much if the cake doesn't seem 100% set the whole way through - for me, the fruity parts had more of a custard texture, whereas the top parts (with no fruit) had more of a cake texture. They were both tremendous and I SO want another piece....though I hope to restrain myself until at least brekkie.....

Saskatoon Berry Clafoutis
- recipe primarily from Mark Bittman

butter, for greasing the pan
1/2 c. sugar, plus more for dusting the pan
1-2 c. prepared fruit (like saskatoon berries!)
3 eggs
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. plain low-fat yogourt
3/4 c. low-fat milk
1 t vanilla extract
pinch salt
icing sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 10" pie plate (I only had a 9-inch). Sprinkle it with sugar, then invert to remove the excess. Lay the berries in a single layer in the dish.
saskatoon berries for clafoutis

2. Beat the eggs until foamy. Add the 1/2 cup of sugar and beat with a whirk or electric mixture until foamy and fairly thick.
clafoutis batter

3. Add the flour and continue to beat until thick and smooth. Add the yogourt, milk, vanilla and salt.

4. Pour the batter over the berries.
clafoutis batter and saskatoon berries

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the clafouti is nicely browned on top and a knife inserted into it comes out clean. At 20 minutes, mine looked great:
undercooked clafoutis

But it really wasn't done yet (mine took closer to 40 minutes - not sure if it was because of the 9" pie plate or a cruddy oven...). And of course the multiple pokes it took for me to ascertain doneness left a bit of a marr on my beautiful cake:
well-cooked clafoutis

Sift some confectioners' sugar over the cooked cake and serve warm or at room temperature. Is it bad that just looking at this makes me want to eat more?


SO yummy. ANd the smell, people. THE SMELL is worth it.


Janet said...

That looks great, I am a big fan of clafoutis (even for breakfast with a little bit of maple syrup drizzled over it).

Deborah said...

I have never heard of these berries - I would love to try them, though! They sound like they would be right up my alley.

Seza said...

I've never heard of clafoutis. It sounds amazing. I just finished canning raspberry and strawberry jam. I'm about to get a farm share of blueberries and will use the recipe for that. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love saskatoons! I'll have to go pick some at my parents' farm and try the recipe. Yum!


Christie said...

Even though people go ga-ga over Saskatoons, I'm not a fan. Give me a blueberry any day over a Saskatoon. Heck, give me a chockcherry before a Saskatoon.

But that cake looks AMAZING! Must try it with blueberries sometime.

Anonymous said...

Saw this recipe, had all the ingredients (blueberries not saskatoon though...), so I whipped it up last night. Very easy, and really good. Like something between cobbler and pudding cake. Total comfort food.
I used a 9" round cake pan and it worked perfectly. I bet it would be nice in individual ramekins for a summer dinner party too.

Trish (IrishGrl) said...

ok what did i do wrong!!! not enough flour or something? i made it and it turned out to be more of a custard, not a cake at all!!! and my bluberries rose to the top too. it still tastes great but reminds me of custard. when i was making it i was thinking that the dry - wet ratio wasn't looking right, not alot of dry ingredients to make it cakey...

Donna said...

This is the first I ever heard of clafoutis. I made a blueberry one (using the leftover plain yogurt I had from the chicke/phyllo dip), and it was so good I made another one to give to my mom!

I had an experience like Trish (irishgrl) where mine was totally like a custard and very non-cake-like, but it was still good.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Trish (Irishgrl) - mine did not puff and it sank once cooked. It was more berry than cake. Perhaps using strawberries warrants more flour? My mom made it with cherries and added 2/3C ground almonds and hers worked very well.


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