Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Food Supplement

We are about to enter the season of Clafoutis.

There are many ways to make Clafoutis - this one is the Raymond Blanc version.

I discarded the Jamie Oliver version for being too insufferably blokey, and I still have not forgiven him for being so inexcusably rude to all those (you) fat Americans, even though it might have been excusable if he were not trying to take their (your) money away from them (you).

I happened to vist The Honorable Richard Townley Strachey one Sunday afternoon, and he was experimenting with Clafoutis. He had about 2 cwt of fresh cherries to play with, plus the rest of the ingredients, most of which are listed below.

As I arrived, Mark One came out of the oven (Mark One is not his brother you understand - his brother is called Charles), and we threw it down our necks as soon as it was cool enough not to hospitalise us.

Although delicious, it was not delicious enough for Richard, who made a second batch.

Making a second batch means halving and pitting about 2 lbs of fresh cherries, so I helped him - a bit.

In about half an hour, a second - slightly better - Clafoutis came steaming out of the oven as the ferry comes steaming out of Cowes, and it was delicious again. Not quite delicious enough for Richard, though, so he began the third batch.

I think he got it about right after the 8th or 9th one, but by that time my palette had become a bit jaded, so I was not really in a position to say.

Anyway, it turned me on to Clafoutis, so I was pleased to see it on the desert menu of a restaurant I visited a week or two later.

The waitress asked, "Can I get you anything else?"

I asked for a Clafoutis.

"Just one?" she asked again, and I looked around me before confirming the order. I was beginning to think the chef was going through the same self-torment as Richard.

Ten minutes later, she brought me a cup of tea.

I thought she looked a bit perplexed. Good job I didn't ask for a pot.

For marinating the fruit:
500g cherries, best quality fresh; stoned
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp kirsch (optional)

For lining the mould:
1 tbsp melted butter
3 tbsp caster sugar

For the batter mixture:
100g plain flour
3 whole eggs, medium organic
1 egg yolk, medium (organic or free range)
6 tbsp caster sugar
2 pinches salt
6 drops vanilla essence, the best! (optional)
160g milk
160g whipping cream
70g unsalted butter
1 lemon, zest finely grated

Mix together the cherries, sugar and kirsch and marinate for 2 hours to maximize their flavour.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
Brush the inside of a round cast iron or china baking dish with melted butter. Add the caster sugar and shake the dish so as to coat the inside of the dish. This will give a lovely crust whilst cooking.
In a mixing bowl add the flour and make a well in the middle. Add the eggs, caster sugar, vanilla essence and lemon zest to the well. With a whisk incorporate slowly the egg mixture into the flour until you have a smooth consistency.
In a small saucepan heat the butter until it reaches a golden hazelnut colour and leave to cool.
Slowly whisk in the milk followed by the cream and finally the butter.
Mix the mixture with the cherries and their juices and pour up to ¾ high into the buttered and sugared baking dish.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. The clafoutis is cooked when the blade of a knife inserted into the mixture comes out completely clean. To serve, sprinkle caster sugar over.


  1. What type of cherries do you recommend - sweet or tart?

    1. Another typo - I meant to say, if you can get 'ether', then just breathe that in and fuck the Clafoutis.

    2. Stoned cherries will do that to you.

    3. If I knew what it meant, I would give you some - or one.

    4. Tom Tom Tom - we talked about it just recently - the opiate conversation.

      I'm going to buy smokes - we ran out last night when we were drinking bored.

    5. I have a short memory - too many paregorics.

  2. I feel sick. A recipe for God's sake. It is almost as bad as textiles.

    1. Take a deep breathe, drink the sherry and drive into Norwich to replenish your stocks.

      You know it makes sense.

      Failing that, clam yourself by giving out a few knitting patterns which you enjoyed in the early sixties.

      Then drive out, get some more sherry and fuck yourself up for whatever work you have to do tomorrow.

    2. Actually, I meant 'calm', but 'clam' is a much better idea.

    3. I didn't even notice.

      I am sure the cherry tart is very nice.

      Thanks for reminding me of how I will feel in the morning.

    4. Now you are making me feel like a complete twat for posting a recipe. How about, 'Recipe for Disaster'?

    5. Dear Tom; don't you know that no one can make you feel how you don't want to feel.

      And besides, everyone else who's replying to this is liking the recipe thing.

    6. Don't stop me - I like feeling a twat, but it's been too long (see root derivation).

    7. And who else IS replying to it, apart from you and Joanne? Joanne is a little confused as to the measures, which is fine by me.

      Ever since we got decimal currency, I miss confusing elderly Americans with our money.

    8. Oh, yeah.
      I like Jamie.

    9. Not for her it isn't - who else would lust after Jamie bloody Oliver?

    10. I guess I do kinda lust after him.

    11. Even though he calls you fat and tries to get money from you? Oh, actually, I've just remembered this has been the basis of many successful past relationships of mine.

    12. I do have a few of his recipe books, now that you mention in. And he doesn't call all of us fat, just the ones that are. He's not so slim himself, anyway.

    13. Bitch! How dare you call one of our celebrity arseholes fat?!

  3. It is so incongruous, the mixing of precise g's for some measurements, and the old English estimate of tsp's and tbs's for others. But, I wouldn't pass up Clafoutis or three.

    1. Would you like it translated into cups? Ask Rachel - she has a bit of time on her hands at the moment.

    2. I don't cook. You do, so as you please.
      Hmmm..do you actually make this wonder, or just go out for it?

    3. I have made it, but not for years.

  4. I'm laughing so hard I am going to throw up!
    (I think your blog is broke - I cannot reply to that thread)

  5. Have I clicked on Mary Berry's blog by mistake?
    ( I wish)

    1. Mary Berry is a Bathonian - I don't need to click on her. I thought that a cookery post would get a lot of responses, and I wasn't wrong. It was a little experiment. I noticed that Cro had over 200 followers this morning, and I thought that might have something to do with food. It's so desperately sad, I think.

      The Palestinians view a cease-fire as 'surrender' as I predicted only a day ago. That's even sadder.

    2. Forget the real world
      I did 8 years ago

    3. I try to, but it's become difficult since the Harry Potter kids grew up.

  6. My recipe is much simpler, and the Cherries are often substituted by Prunes (a la Francaise).

  7. I am sure the Hatty's love your recipe if they were to see it.

    1. Did you ever hear any of the wonderful radio series, 'In and Out of the Kitchen'? It occurred to me that this post is a rip-off of that.

    2. No, but I just looked it up and see what you mean.

      I am sorry if I cocked it all up for you on your recipe debut.

  8. I love clafouti but have never made it successfully, so I shall try your recipe. If it doesn't work then your name will be mud.

  9. It looks and sounds very good, Tom! We have some great cherries at the moment...I might give your recipe a try. The hard part will be changing all those pesky measurements.

  10. This sounds yummy, Tom, and yes, it's weird for me to think in flour in terms of weight rather than volume. I found a website where you can convert measurements, but i lost the link on my old computer. I was following an English scone recipe that was modernised and found the website.

    After a google search, i found it: