The peaches this year in New England have been exceptional! I can’t remember a recent summer when this fruit has been more bountiful or had such juicy, flavorful flesh. Farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and grocery stores in our small town have all proudly displayed bins—of both yellow and white—ripe enough for eating on the spot. As a result, I have been bringing home bagfuls of the fuzzy orbs and using them in various ways.
One of my favorite creations has been a recipe for individual peach clafoutis (pronounced CLA FU TEA), a specialty of the Limousin, an area in south central France. It is one of the simplest yet most delicious French desserts a home cook can prepare. Traditionally, it is made with cherries that are covered with a rich pancake-style batter, then baked. My version, however, calls for fresh sliced peaches scented with hints of cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon. When baked the batter rises just slightly above the sides of the pan and then falls like a soufflé as it rests.
It takes only 15 minutes to assemble this dessert and another 25 to 30 to bake. Clafoutis are best served warm from the oven dusted with powdered sugar. If you want to be indulgent, add a scoop of vanilla bean or ginger ice cream to each serving. Make them soon while peaches are still abundant!
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Individual Summer Peach Clafoutis
4 large ripe yellow peaches (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pds), peeled and cut into 3/4 inch wedges
2 tsp plus 1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the baking dishes
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
1. Arrange a rack at center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter four 5 1 /2 in gratin or crème brûlée dishes and place them on a rimmed baking sheet .
2. Divide the sliced peaches evenly among the dishes. Sprinkle the peaches in each dish with 1 /2 teaspoon of the sugar.
3. Place eggs in a mixing bowl and whisk well to blend. Whisk in the remaining 1/ 3 cup sugar, then the melted butter, then the milk. Sift the flour, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and salt over this batter and whisk in these dry ingredients. Whisk in the vanilla. There should not be any lumps in the batter.
4. Pour the batter over the peaches in each dish and transfer them to the oven on the baking sheet. Bake until the batter puffs up and rises slightly above the sides and has browned around the top edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and cool 5 minutes; the clafoutis will deflate as they cool.
5. Sprinkle the clafoutis with confectioners’ sugar. Serves 4.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2015