Dessert in a Hurry: Clafouti
You know how it is. You’re yacking it up in a bar. The drinks are flowing and you’re feeling a deep and abiding love for mankind in general and your tablemates in particular, so you invite them over for a little home cooking at your place in a couple of weeks. But tequila slammers being what they are, you don’t necessarily recall issuing the invitation the next morning, in which case, you probably won’t remember that you’re supposed to be getting a company meal on the table two weeks hence. So when your pals call to confirm three hours before they’re set to arrive, you really have only two choices: fake sick (in which case I’d suggest choosing an extremely communicable vector-borne disease – mononucleosis, swine flu, or a herpes outbreak, depending on the nature of the friendship) or suck it up and get the chow on the table.
In the event you choose door number two, here’s what you do.
- Don’t panic. Take five minutes to sit down and have a good drink. Really. Just get hold of yourself and make a list.
- Buy some champagne, chill it and shove a glass in each guest’s hand as soon as they arrive. Keep refilling.
- Make macaroni and cheese. It’s fast, foolproof and fuckery-free if you use Grammie Sue’s recipe. In a pinch, fresh pasta with marinara will do if you have a good source for ready-made marinara and can heave some fresh mozzarella in with it. Just throw a few fresh basil leaves on top and no one will be any the wiser.
- Buy a big tub of washed salad greens and make a salad. Throw in a handful of tomatoes if you can. If you can’t, you can’t.
- Make home made dessert. OH YES YOU CAN and you must. They’re less likely to suspect you forgot if you pull something sweet out of the oven, and I have just the thing: clafouti, a delicious Frenched-up custard-cake hybrid that is easily made with ingredients you have on hand. It’s the perfect panic dessert because you can add almost any fruit to it and flavor it with whatever liqueur you haven’t already sucked down.
Here you go:
(suitable for whatever fruit you can find)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Butter a pie plate. If screwing around with butter and waxed paper makes you feel like having a grand mal seizure at this point, just spray with Pam or some such instead.
In a mixing bowl, beat until light and fluffy (2 to 3 minutes):
- 4 eggs
- ¾ C sugar
Add and mix on low speed:
- ¾ C flour
- 1 C milk (full fat or a mix of lowfat and half & half or cream – don’t skimp on the fat)
- 1 t vanilla extract
- ¼ t salt
- 1 T liqueur (Grand Marnier, Calvados, Chambord, etc. Choose according to fruit, or just add a teaspoon of almond extract if you can’t cope.)
At this point you can cover the batter and shove it in the fridge until 45 minutes before you’re ready to serve it (or right as you’re sitting down to dinner) and go have another drink.
Before baking, pour the batter into the buttered pan and throw some fruit on top (thinly sliced apples, sliced ripe pears, dried cherries, regular cherries (for God’s sake, pit them first), peaches, blueberries – you get the idea). The fruit will probably sink, but that’s OK.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the sides puff up and the center is set. DON’T FORGET TO SET THE OVEN TIMER. It’ll deflate as it cools.
Pull it out of the oven and haul it straight to the table for all to see. You can sprinkle it with powdered sugar, but I never bother. Let it cool for a couple of minutes, then slice everyone a wedge and throw some ice cream or a blob of whipped cream on the side. Don’t serve it cold! No good.
Well done, Sweetie.