I’ve mentioned before that I have a minor problem with purchasing too much produce when I make my trips to the market. It’s not so much that my eyes are bigger than my stomach, but more a need to have endless possibilities to experiment with when I am ready to cook. This is completely ridiculous, of course. I haven’t had as much time to cook lately, so getting organized for the possibility has stuffed our fridge beyond its limits with bags of arugula and baby spinach left to rest on top of milk cartons, grapes and berries stuffed into the deli drawer, and the vegetable bin so full I can barely close it. Thankfully the long weekend has given me some time to use the ingredients and not a moment too soon because a few items went from being a salad contender to a shoe-in for something baked.
Such was the cute little bunch of seckel pears I couldn’t resist when I saw them at the market. The smallest variety of pear and the only developed in the U.S., they’re very sweet. Like all pears, they’re best picked when mature, but left to ripen off the tree to prevent graininess. Although I enjoy the mild flavor of most pears, I enjoy them while still firm and the seckels I purchased, having sat for days in a plastic bag were well past that point.
Because I usually end up eating pears raw, I haven’t made that many dishes with pears that involve cooking. Something quick and easy was in order, so a clafoutis seemed to be the best choice. Traditionally a French dessert made with cherries, clafoutis is made with a batter somewhat like that of pancake, but with more egg. The consistency of the cooked custard is not unlike that of crepes, or a German pancake and quite good.
Take a look around your kitchen for fruit that has seen better days and experiment a bit to end up with something just as nice on the breakfast table as for dessert.
Seckel Pear Clafoutis
1 c. flour
1 T vanilla
1/3 c. turbinado
3 lg. eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
5 seckel pears, cored and sliced
1 T butter
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9″ casserole with sides at least 2″ high. Place the sliced pears evenly in the bottom of the casserole. Mix all ingredients in a large measuring cup and pour over the pears. Press the pears gently to make sure they remain on the bottom of the pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until the clafoutis is puffed and golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and ut into wedges. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
- I used a 7″ casserole and so had left over batter which I used to fill two 1/2 cup ramekins and baked those with fresh blueberries.
- I left the peelings on the pears and sliced them with the tops intact so I could “fan” them. A more shallow pan would have shown the detail more effectively.
- This dessert has a very delicate flavor when made with pears — perhaps too delicate. The blueberry version was my favorite of the two but that’s most likely because I prefer the tartness of the blueberries and think the flavor worked well with the custard.
- I baked all three desserts together and just kept an eye on the smaller ramekins, taking them out about 5 minutes earlier than the larger casserole.
- The clafoutis will deflate somewhat as they cool.