When the season's last beautiful plums were on plump display in the Farmer's Market I knew they deserved special treatment. I had a class coming up teaching a French-style, local market produce-inspired class coming up so I wanted to make a clafoutis. However, a clafoutis is traditionally only made with black cherries and well, I wanted to use these succulent plums. So, I thought I'd call it my "Plum Clafoutis".
Upon doing more research, including my ultimate reference Larousse Gastronomique, I learned that if the French cooks add fruit other than cherry (such as pear, peach, prunes) to a Clafoutis, it becomes a flaugnarde or even more confusing, often spelled flognarde. So then I thought, "Easy, this is flaugnarde, not a plum clafoutis". But upon reading the recipes it became very clear that wasn't exactly the whole truth either. The recipe and portions are different between the two. And, I was desiring the light yet dense, puffy almost custard-meets-crepe texture of the clafoutis. Reading the flaugnarde recipe I saw that the result would be more crepe-like, there was more liquid, more egg and the same flour. And I didn't want to mask these decadent plums, I wanted silky and creamy sponginess that showed them off. I also added vanilla, which usually isn't in a clafoutis. But flaugnarde usually includes not only vanilla, but often rum and orange-flower water or orange tree extract (WTF?) and sometimes cinammon. Online research only confused me more. So, this is a lovely, phenomenal dessert without a perfect name. If any French purists out there know, please enlighten me. Otherwise, I'm calling it a Plum Clafoutis. Regardless, it was phenomenal!
Here's how I did it, give it a try if you still happen to have gorgeous plums in season or tuck this away for for next year.
6-8 fresh plums, washed, pitted and sliced into wedges
1/2 c. sugar, divided into two ¼ c. portions
1 T. unsalted butter
1 c. all-purpose unbleached flour
pinch of kosher salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 ¼ c. whole milk
1 whole vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped from pod
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Dust the plums with ¼ c. sugar and let sit for 30 minutes. Butter the inside of a pie plate or baking dish. Arrange the plums on the bottom in a spiral from the inside to the outside edges of the pan.
2. Place the flour, a pinch of salt and the remaining ¼ c. sugar in a mixing bowl and stir. Whisk the eggs in a smaller bowl and add the milk and vanilla bean seeds. Whisk again. The batter should be like a very thick pancake batter.
3. Pour the batter over the plums and smooth to even. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the clafoutis is completely set. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
4. Dust with confectioner’s sugar. Serve while still warm and enjoy!