Cheat Day Strawberry Clafoutis!
When Jamie and I first started dating, we both gained about 15 lbs. To say that our dating life revolved around food would be a bit of an exaggeration, but, very early on we decided that if the other had, for some weird reason, not enjoyed food, it would just never have worked out. Have you been out to eat a meal with somebody who doesn’t love to eat? Licking your fingers and slurping up juices and ‘mmmmm’ing and ‘ahhh’ing while the person you’re with nudges around a few leaves of salad on their plate while gazing wistfully at the door longing for an escape. At least, that’s what I assume they’re thinking.
It was during this first few months, on a lazy Saturday morning while discussing what to have for breakfast, that we discovered the clafoutis.
A few years ago, due to health reasons, I started eating a paleo-diet*. It changed my life and my health enough to justify giving up some of the foods that I enjoy the most. After I became healthier though, it became a lot harder to pass up a slice of tarte tatin due to health reasons. It was during this period that I developed the cheat-day philosophy, in which, one day week, I eat whatever the hell I want.
One of the things cheat day brought back to my life was the clafoutis. Though of humble origins, and technically not a breakfast dish but a dessert, and, well, though technically it’s supposed to be made with cherries (I find that strawberries or plums make me much happier), the clafoutis has been elevated to an art in our house. It’s light and fluffy, and custardy and fruity, and sweet but not too sweet. The kind of thing that’s perfect with a big steaming cup of coffee. The kind of thing that, when one of us wakes up super early on a weekend (which, let’s face it, is me 90% of the time), and the other is still sleeping (the hibernating hedgehog, 90% of the time), she will sneak downstairs and get cooking, sending the aroma of baking and eggs and strawberries and freshly roasted coffee wafting throughout the house.
Clafoutis is a wonderful thing to wake up to.
Strawberries are super cheap at the markets right now, so I’m buying up as many of them as I can, both to eat, to make jams from, and to freeze for later in the year when they’re not as tasty. I had a couple of baskets sitting in my fridge that were beginning to look worse for wear, so this seemed to be the obvious choice for fruit filling. But you can use anything– cherries are traditional, plums are delicious, peaches are yummy. Frozen fruit can be thrown in as-is, fresh fruit can be cut up straight into the pan. I try to use the sweetest fruit I can find for anything– usually mid-to-late season works best for me, especially as the excitement has worn off so the prices have dropped a bit by then too.
Clafoutis for breakfast please:
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sucanat
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup sprouted flour (I’ve had good results with both wheat and spelt)
1 cup milk (this is an excellent way to use up soured raw milk– I think it makes the clafoutis taste even better)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
grated rind of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 325.
Melt the butter. For ease of clean up, I melt it on low heat on the stovetop, in the dish I’m planning on baking the clafoutis in. Meanwhile, beat the eggs, sugar, salt. Add the flour, and incorporate well. Add the milk, butter, vanilla, and once well mixed, grate in the lemon peel. Pour the fruit into the [in my case, now hot] pan. Pour over custard. Cook for 55 minutes, or until risen and slightly firm in the centre, although still slightly jiggly.
Cover with thick raw cream, serve with a big mug of coffee and your favourite newspaper.
*No grains or legumes, no sugar. Technically no dairy, but I’ve been fine with raw grass-fed milk. Basically you eat plants and animals. It works for me.