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Strawberry Clafoutis

Strawberry Clafoutis
Clafoutis is a wonderful dessert to bake when you have fresh fruit in the kitchen. The classic French dessert is halfway between a custard and a cake in consistency, with the slice-ability of a cake and the eggy richness of a custard. Clafoutis are traditionally made with cherries, but can be made with any type of fruit, including pears, plums and strawberries. This Strawberry Clafoutis showcases ripe, in-season strawberries in every bite. It is a lovely change of pace from the old standby of strawberry shortcake, but still captures the flavor of summer in every bite.

The clafoutis is eggy and lightly sweet, with a hint of both vanilla and almond. It really sets off the juicy red berries – both in looks and flavor. Even if your berries are very large, they can be added to this dessert whole. Strawberries are fairly delicate and using the berries whole allows them to stand up to the heat of the oven better. The strawberries become more tender after baking and have a more intense strawberry flavor to them. They meld well with the tender custard as you slice, but they really pop once you take a bite. The number of berries that you’ll be able to use depends, to some degree, on the size of the berries that you have available. If you have unusually small berries, add in a few more. If yours are unusually large, try to distribute them with a bit more space between them.

This dessert must be made with fresh strawberries. Frozen strawberries will not only leak a lot of extra liquid into your dish as they bake, but they simply won’t look as attractive after they come out of the oven. Save this dessert for the summer time, when you have plenty of perfectly ripe berries available to you. I serve this either slightly warm or well-chilled. After slicing, I top each piece with a bit of confectioners’ sugar or a small dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Strawberry Clafoutis
approx 16 medium sized strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk (low fat is ok)
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 425F and lightly grease a deep 9-inch pie plate or a 10-inch round baking/tart dish.
Wash strawberries and remove the leafy green tops. Arrange whole strawberries, lying them on their sides, in prepared baking dish. I placed 12 around the outside edge of the pan and 4 in the center.
In a food processor, blend flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs, milk, vanilla and almond extracts until smooth, about 15 seconds. This can also be done by whisking vigorously by hand until the batter is smooth. Pour mixture on top of strawberries. If mixing by hand, strain the batter through a sieve to eliminate any lumps.
Bake for 15 minutes at 425F. Turn oven down to 350F and bake an additional 25-30 minutes, until clafoutis is golden brown and a tester (sharp knife) inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.

Serves 6-8.

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