Sunday, May 14, 2017

Clafoutis (custardy fruit pancake)

One of the things I miss most when I am cooking low carb is sweet breakfast dishes like pancakes and French toast. Thanks to a great article in The Kitchn, I discovered the perfect lowish carb sweet breakfast dish. Clafoutis (pronounced "claw-FOO-tee") is a French fruit-packed tart/custard that resembles a Dutch pancake. The custard contains a small amount of flour to soak up the fruit juices and give it a bit of a pancake-like structure. It basically tastes like a cross between a giant pancake and a fruity french toast. 

I've altered the traditional recipe slightly to contain even less flour than is usual, and to make heartier, thicker slices. Because it is mostly (plant) milk, egg, and berries (a high fiber and lower carb fruit), with just a small amount of flour mixed in, this is a good choice for a moderately low carb diet. I have not tried it yet, but since the flour plays such a minor role in the recipe, I suspect many "alternative" flours could work, like gluten-free, almond, or coconut. Clafoutis is most traditionally eaten for dessert, but I like a big old slice for breakfast.

I think my favorite thing about it is the investment-to-payoff ratio. It's very easy to throw together the few ingredients and bake, but produces a fancy dish that will impress guests. You can even prepare the dish the night before and pop it in the oven in the morning. There is no babysitting eggs on the stove or flipping pancakes.

Serves 4 for breakfast or 6-8 for dessert or snack. Traditionally served warm or cold, plain or with a dusting of powdered sugar. I like it plain, but my husband likes it with sugar-free syrup.

1 and 2/3 cup milk of choice (I used Almond)
1/2 - 2/3 cup sweetener depending on how sweet you'd like it (I used Splenda)
5 large eggs
2 t vanilla extract
1 /4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour (I've used white flour, wheat flour, and/or almond meal)
1-1 lb 4 oz fruit, such as cherries, berries, or chopped stone fruit. Can be fresh or frozen. I usually use frozen cherries and mixed berries, thawed
1 tablespoon butter

Heat oven to 375°F and place a 12-inch cast iron skillet inside to preheat.

Whisk together milk, sweetener, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Add in flour and whisk until just combined.

Remove pan from oven and grease with butter. Pour batter into pan and top evenly with fruit.

Bake approximately 45 minutes, until set but still custard-like in the middle. It will puff up when cooking but will deflate once you remove it from the oven.