I may have mentioned this before, but I don’t actually own many cookbooks.
I love food, I love baking, I thoroughly enjoy perusing recipes, and I have a fondness for books. You would think this would lead to a healthy cookbook collection, right?
Nope, I never quite hopped on that boat. Maybe it’s because I have dwindling space in my apartment and already own several overflowing bookcases, stuffed with Farrell’s weird collection of fiction and poli-sci novels and my old textbooks from college that I swear I’ll glance through again at some point in the future (who knows when a book on the art of Islamic gardens may come in handy).
Maybe it’s because the thought of adding more books to that collection and then moving it to whatever far-off corner of the world I decide to live in next is terrifying and exhausting (books are by far the heaviest things I own).
Maybe it’s just because I didn’t really grow up with many cookbooks. I can still remember exactly where my mom stored her cookbooks in our first house, underneath a desk in the kitchen that collected everybody’s random ephemera (most memorably to me, we had a wooden box on that desk filled with Philadelphia Zoo keys). Mom didn’t have many cookbooks, but she did have an old Betty Crocker (or maybe Better Homes and Garden?) book dedicated to cakes. I obsessed over the pictures, but never got around to making any of the impeccably decorated delights.
Point of this story: I just acquired my third cookbook!
This book got to me (courtesy of the best mom ever) just in time for my budding re-obsession with all things francais. Clafoutis are typically made with cherries, but I decided to switch it up and use some stalks of rhubarb that were sadly languishing in my fridge.
It’s essentially a giant pancake, a fluffy vessel to cushion the fruit from the dish to your mouth. I found that the original recipe isn’t as sweet as I would like it, so I added sugar to balance the rhubarb’s tartness. The sugar helps, but the addition of blackberry syrup really puts the clafoutis over the edge (unfortunately I don’t have pictures of the syrup, it was just too tasty to stop eating and take pictures of).
And in case you were wondering, the plural of clafoutis is clafoutis. Correct usage: I made one clafoutis, but I wish I had many more clafoutis.
I wouldn’t say this is one of the prettiest dishes I’ve ever baked. It does have the flashy, look-at-me-fuchsia rhubarb going for it, but otherwise it came out of the oven looking like some sort of geological anomaly…a craggy moonscape. Plenty of crevices to be filled with blackberry syrup (seriously, I’m begging you to make the syrup with the clafoutis), but this thing ain’t winning any beauty pageants.
So let’s see.
Pros about this dish: French (and therefore sophisticated), bright pink, easy to make, and delicious for any meal or snack (though it’s best for breakfast, in my opinion).
– Rhubarb Clafoutis – adapted from Ginette Mathiot’s I Know How to Cook
Butter, for greasing
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup of milk
5 stalks of rhubarb, chopped
1 tbsp Chambord
Optional toppings: powdered sugar and blackberry syrup (recipe here)
– Butter an ovenproof baking dish (I used an 8×8 square dish) and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine eggs, vanilla extract, flour, salt, sugar in a bowl. Whisk in milk until mixture resembles thin crepe batter.
– Fold in Chambord and rhubarb pieces. Pour mixture into buttered baking dish and bake for 35 minutes.