Monday, September 17, 2012

Pear Clafouti with Blueberries

A guest post by Finn the Cooking Assistant (aka the Dog Picker)

A life in the culinary arts revolves around fresh food

Many dogs on my block have asked me how to break into a culinary career, something homespun like Francis, the poodle on Cooking with Dog.  As watchdog over the kitchen, food model extraordinaire and food taster, I'm not embarased to admit I've licked more than a few plates. I'd even lick shoes if they had food on them.  Best canine advice for the culinary arts?  Get yourself into a home where fresh food is a priority.  And a garden doesn't hurt either.  

Once your paw is inside the door, make your preferences known. No need to soil a rug to get attention, but don't be afraid to whine a little.  You don't have to be pathetic, but the squeaky wheel gets greased fastest and more often in my experience, and I apprenticed under a black belt beggar.  It makes me weep to recall how good he was at getting food scraps.

My own culinary journey has been a smooth slide into a life with a full refrigerator and plenty of sawdust biscuits.  Keep your priorities in order, and don't forget to take daily walks. 

Food from the market 

The Lady came home from the market with pears from Grouse Mountain Farm.   I grabbed a pear from the bag, but was forced to share my treasure with sister Chloe.  It seems the pears were for a claflouti.  

In the treasure box, I spied a Red Clapp pear, by scent.   I couldn't take my eyes off it.

I thought I heard "Okay," my signal to eat, and yes, it was just as good as it looked.
Then, I was overwhelmed and the red pear was gone in a flash.

I digress, back to desserts . . . 

Fruit desserts change with the seasons here.  This summer it's been clafouti--first with cherries, then berries, and finally pears.  I'm fond of the clafouti, but it will be nice to get some balance with a slump, crisp or cobbler

A for this recipe, if you have unexpected company, this is the one to pull out for it's ease or preparation and minimal ingredients.  It works best with pears or apples because they add less moisture to the mix, than say cherries or blackberries. 

Serve clafouti  for brunch if you want, after all it's got eggs and fruit, oh and sugar, but I think you could cut back on the amount if you wanted.

It's supposed to be rustic looking.   I prefer the little pears, like Moonglows, but seckel pears also work here.  The important part is to cut all pears the same thickness.

Fill in the gaps with blueberries.   I'm not barking about the gaps in your brain, that's another story altogether.


Here's the recipe, hope you enjoy it.

Pear Clafouti with Blueberries
I love this dessert with coconut sorbet blended with fresh lavender buds. 
(Serves 4)

About 7 tiny pears, or 3 large pears, rinsed and cut in half
1 1/2 to 2 cups blueberries
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup milk (dairy, soy, rice or nut)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  and oil a 9- or 10-inch round pan.

2. Lay pears, cut side down in the pan. Sprinkle blueberries in between.

3. Combine the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beat until foamy and thick.  Add the flour and continue to mix until a smooth batter forms.  Add the milk, vanilla extract, and brandy if desired. 

4. Pour the mixture over the pears and blueberries.  Bake until browned, about 30 minutes.

5. Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar or coconut sorbet, if desired.

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and I believe he arrived early this year!

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