Thursday, 15 May 2008

Clememrermefoutis?

We had a little trouble with the name, but the concept went down very well, and despite having to wait 45 minutes for it N liked his "clememrermefoutis" very much this evening!

This food adventure was born as a result of various conspiring events. Firstly,
while we were away my mum took the opportunity to "borrow" our flat while she was in London for a long weekend break. It was the perfect arrangement: she didn't have to pay extortionate hotel prices, and we got someone to take in the post and water the plants. There were also some other added bonuses that hadn't occurred to me until we got back to a sparkling clean flat (and more importantly - oven!) and a bag of goodies she'd purchased during her shopping trips. It was far far too generous, but very lovely and certainly gratefully received.

Having the same obsession with kitchenware that I do - which is of course where I get the infliction that means a simple trip to a cook shop for a 6' sandwich tin will consume whole afternoons - there were more than a few culinary goodies waiting for me. Some of these will have to wait until later posts to be discussed (as I am sure they will appear), some were dealt with swiftly (like the deliciously indulgent Montezuma's chocolate...mmm...) and some were screaming to be used immediately, and yet I wasn't quite sure what for. Such as the beautiful bright red gratin dishes she bought for us.

Then the second conspiring event occurred; Abel and Cole delivered our first boxes of fruit and veg since we'd returned from the holiday. Ah, how I'd missed good, wholesome fruit and veg (more about that to come. I promise you will eventually get some tales, both gastronomic and cultural, from our travels). I unpacked our huge delivery with such glee and gusto. When we'd left it was snowing and still felt like winter. Root veg was still the staple of the box, and N was getting more than a little fed up with me insisting he help out with the kiwi fruit surplus. We arrived home to glorious sunshine, which reminded us that we have finally passed into another season, and so to different fruit and veg. The Abel and Cole delivery confirmed our excitement; cherry tomatoes, radishes, and courgettes in the veg box, and pears, dates and mangoes in the fruit box. And of course one of my very favourite things in the fruit world; rhubarb. I love it so much and was dismayed to discover that the plant in our garden is still not quite ready yet. I am so desperate to proudly yank the stems and make things with something from our very own garden. However that moment will have to wait. At least I can start enjoying rhubarb though now thanks to our fruit box.

There are so many delicious things to do with rhubarb that I wasn't really sure where to start; crumble or compot? cheesecake or fruit filled cake? Then I remembered that I have been wanted to try making clafoutis for ages now, but had never really had the right fruits around. We always had plenty of apples, but no berries or softer more strongly flavoured fruit. Rhubarb seemed perfect, the tart bite of the fruit cutting through the sweetness of the batter. It just had to be done. And what would I serve it in? The two gorgeous bright red gratin dishes my mum had so thoughtfully bought us.



I had to do a bit of fiddling with the recipe (when don't I?!) to make it the right amount and the right flavour for what I wanted, but as you can see the three events conspired perfectly to give us a wonderful spring dessert. It has turned slightly chilly once again after the bright sun and heat of the past week, and so a warm dessert was a comfort, but with the rhubarb and lemon keeping the spring present. It was delicious and I shall definitely be making it again, and will certainly experiment with other fruits. I think the only change I would make would be to add more fruit. Although N said he liked the amount I think I wanted a touch more, but I can always add it to mine and not his in future!

So, here's the recipe. I took the basic batter from Tartelette and adapted it slightly, adding more lemon zest and juice as I like it as a stronger flavour and thought it would accompany the rhubarb well.

Roasted Rhubarb Clafoutis (Serves two)

Filling:
3 medium sticks of rhubarb, washed, trimmed and cut into 1cm pieces
1-2tsp golden caster sugar

Batter:
1.5 oz plain flour
0.5oz cornflour
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
0.5oz melted butter
2 oz sugar (I used vanilla sugar as it would compliment the other flavours and add more depth)
zest of one lemon
juice of half lemon

First, prepare the rhubarb and toss in the sugar. Then place in a roasting pan and roast at 190C for ten minutes, until just soft. Set aside to cool before dividing evenly between the gratin dishes. Drop the oven temperature to 180C to preheat for the cooking of the dessert.

To make the batter; mix the dry ingredients in one bowl (including lemon zest) and the wet in another, making sure each is well combined. Then pour the wet into the dry whisking to make sure you get as few lumps as possible. Continue to whisk until thoroughly combined, then divide between the gratin pans, pouring gently over the fruit.

Place the dishes on the middle shelf of the oven and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. For me this took about 45 mins, but will vary according to the dishes used.

Removed from the oven and allow to cool slightly, enough for the dishes to be touchable, but the clafoutis to still be warm. Dust with icing sugar and then eat. Mmmm....rhubarby!


post script: How great do those dishes look! They were so wonderful to eat out of and match our other red kitchenware, but I just viewed the picture on the post and was oh so chuffed at how great and cute they look. Thank you mum, you're the bestest.

1 comment:

Lynne said...

A gift adequately repaid by the recipe and the glee with which you used them! Have you tried ginger with rhubarb? Still with lemon, of course - how could anyone not like lemon with everything - almost?But ginger is good too!