Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.
~Julia Child

BLUEBERRY CLAFOUTI (CLAFOUTI AUX MYRTILLES)

This is just a riff on an earlier clafouti take that appeared on a May 9, 2009, page but now is directly aimed at blueberries only, a perpetual fav. A more historical and geographical glimpse of clafouti is found there.

(As always, reference can be made by simply typing in clafouti in the “Search” box found on nearly the upper right of the main page; just below the Categories and just above the Recent Posts.  It is the means by which damned near everything can be found on the site.)

Blueberries, a super food, are considered one of the healthiest, both low in calories and high in nutrition.  From the genus Vaccinium, it is a perennial flowering shrub that produces berries that are hued blue to purple — indigoed — with a flared crown at the end and covered in a protective coating of powdery epicuticular wax. At first, the berries are green in color.  There are two most common types, highbush, which are most common and lowbush, which are smaller in stature, synonymous with wilder, and more fecund with antioxidants.

To my chagrin, it seems blueberries have adapted titles that resound like a female grooming brochure or study.  To somehow even think that hair “down there” is somehow contortedly unhygienic or those who inexplicably opt for that prepubescent look or those who urge their mates to do the same…quelle honte, quel dommage.

Blueberries contain fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, antioxidants (improving brain function), flavonoids, anthocyanins, reduce DNA damage, neutralize free radical damage, improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, have anti-diabetic effects, prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs), lower blood pressure and protect LDL lipoproteins (the “bad” cholesterol) from oxidative damage.

Need I say more?

Well, have a happy 4th.  Whatever that means — so few years this republic, this democracy, this oligarchy or otherwise and so much violence over our time. Really, exactly When Was America Great — name some dates (even an era), bro?  Your ongoing silence, M. Donald, speaks volumes as does your silly red hat, under that asinine red/white/grey/orange comb-over that can tweet something irrational at a moment’s notice in the middle of the night. I await your prompt response — it has been days now, almost a fortnight, likely more. Apparently, you have no answer.

2 T blueberry eau-de-vie or 1 T cognac or brandy
2 T light brown sugar

1/3 C granulated sugar (divided)
1/3 C turbinado cane sugar (divided)

1/3 C unsalted butter, softened
2 lbs seasonal blueberries

3 large, pastured eggs
6 T heavy whipping cream
6 T whole milk
1/4 C cornstarch or all purpose flour
Confectioners’ sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 F

Combine the blueberry eau-de-vie and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl to dissolve along with the light brown sugar.

Add the blueberries and butter and toss to blend. Transfer to a baking dish and place in the oven. Bake until the fruit is hot, and set the blueberries aside to cool to room temperature.

Lower the oven to 350-375 F

Whisk the eggs until frothy with a mixer, adding the remaining sugars. Then add the cream, milk and cornstarch (preferably) or flour and mix until well blended. There should be a smooth waffle-like batter.

Place the blueberries in a baking dish in a single layer. Slowly pour the batter over the fruit, filling just to the brim. Bake until until golden, some 35-40 minutes. Set aside, and turn broiler to high.

Sprinkle the confectioners’ sugar on top sparsely yet evenly.  Place under the broiler until the sugar is caramelized.

Serve the clafouti directly from the skillet in preferably in wedges or actually unmold and place on a platter. To unmold, make certain that the clafouti is free from the sides of the pan, and if necessary, run a sharp knife around the edge to release it.  Serve warm.

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Other than a scant syllabic kinship, I am befuddled why when hearing clafouti my mind’s ear always conjures up “Shipoopi”—a love song from the 1957 Meredith Willson musical, The Music Man, starring the virile Robert Preston. An endearing yet quirky Buddy Hackett was pegged as the song and dance star for this number, and even Peter Griffin from the Family Guy series has performed a rendition.

Recently, clafouti (apple and pear) has found new life and taken on a metaphorical bend in Yasmina Reza’s acclaimed nihilistic play, God of Carnage.

The classic clafouti is a rustic dish akin to a flan or sweet omelet, usually chocked with fruit…a dish from the Limousin region of central France in the northwestern part of the Massif Central. Limousin is derived from the Lemovices, a Gallic tribe native to the area during Roman rule which began around 50 BC. In the tenth century, Limousin became a fief of Aquitaine, and later during the Middle Ages it became well known for its troubadour poetry.

Limoges, the capital of this département, is not only the birthplace of artist Jean Auguste Renoir, it is the home of cherished Limoges porcelain which has been manufactured there since 1771.

The word “limousine”—those luxurious elongated sedans often housing self annointed VIPS—is derived from a cloaked cape worn by the shepherds of Limousin.

This enticing berry clafouti is a different spin for Mother’s Day.

SEASONAL BERRY CLAFOUTI

2 T kirsch or other eau-de-vie
2 T light brown sugar
1/3 C sugar (divided)
1/3 C raw sugar (divided)

3 T unsalted butter,softened
2 lbs mixed seasonal berries (e.g., cherries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)

3 large eggs
2 T sugar
6 T heavy whipping cream
6 T whole milk
1/4 C cornstarch or all purpose flour

Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 425

Combine the kirsch and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl to dissolve. Add the berries and butter, then toss to blend. Transfer to a baking dish and place in the oven. Bake until the fruit is hot, about 10 minutes, so they exude excess liquid. If necessary, drain the fruit in a colander, but reserve the juices for flavoring later. Set the berries aside to cool to room temperature.

Lower the oven to 375 F

Whisk the eggs until frothy with a mixer, adding the remaining sugar. Then add the cream, milk and cornstarch or flour and mix until well blended. You should have a smooth batter.

Place the fruits in a baking dish in a single layer. Slowly pour the batter over the fruit, filling just to the brim. Bake until until golden, some 35 to 40 minutes. Set aside to cool, and turn broiler to high.

Sprinkle the confectioners’ sugar on top evenly Place under the broiler until the sugar is caramelized. Cool to room temperature.

Serve the clafouti directly from the skillet in wedges or unmold. To unmold, make certain that the clafouti is free from the sides of the pan; if necessary, run a sharp knife around the edge to release it.

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and champagne.