The simplicity of clafoutis is not its only appeal. This batter-style cake is the perfect vehicle for fruits that happen to be in season throughout the year. Although traditionally baked with cherries, other fruits work just as well. When cherries are in season try this recipe by replacing pear with a good amount of whole pitted cherries. Other fruit l like to use are apricots or figs. All of these cook well and complement the flavour of the almonds in the clafoutis.
½ cup (125ml) cream
½ cup (125ml) milk
½ vanilla bean, split and seeds removed
pinch of salt
200g ground almonds
1 tsp either Kirsch, Grand Marnier or Cointreau
zest of ½ a lemon
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp sugar, extra
150 ml whipping cream
100 ml creme fraiche
3 tbsp castor sugar
1. In a blender or standing mixer, fix the whisk attachment and blend the cream, milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla seeds and salt for 1 minute. Add the ground almonds, liqueur, lemon zest and flour followed by the melted butter, and blend for 1 another minute or until smooth. Leave the batter to rest for half an hour before using.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C.
3. Pour the batter into a buttered frying pan (about 14cm), ceramic or enamel baking dish. Strategically place the caramelised pears into the clafoutis, ensuring the wedges are evenly spaced and not touching each other.
4. Place in preheated oven. After 15 minutes, when the clafoutis has begun to set, remove from the oven, sprinkle the top with 1 tablespoon of sugar and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until set. The clafoutis is ready when firm to touch and light brown. To test, pierce the centre with a small knife; it should come out clean when cooked.
5. To make the chantilly cream, in a bowl or blender with the whisk attachment, vigorously whisk the cream, cream fraiche and sugar together. Continue to whisk until the cream has started to thicken to soft peaks. Store the whipped cream in the fridge until ready to serve.
6. Let the clafoutis cool to room temperature before serving at the table with chantilly cream.