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Blueberry-Rhubarb Clafoutis: A Fruit-Forward Dessert from France 

click to enlarge Blueberry-Rhubarb Clafoutis - ANDY BRUMBAUGH
  • Andy Brumbaugh
  • Blueberry-Rhubarb Clafoutis

When we were kids, my siblings and I loved to go out to the bushes near our vegetable garden and fill buckets with black and red raspberries. We would bring them into the house in the hopes that our mom would make her delicious cobbler.

Later in life, I found out that Mom's recipe was not what most people think of as a cobbler. Typical American cobbler consists of fruit with a biscuit topping. Mom's started by melting a stick of butter on the bottom of a baking pan, adding generous amounts of fruit and, finally, topping it with a cake-like batter. Turns out, she learned this method from an Armenian woman she knew.

When I was looking through recipes for clafoutis — a French dish with fruit and a custardy, pancake-like batter — they reminded me of Mom's cobbler. Or, more precisely, its fancy French cousin. Traditional clafoutis uses cherries — with the pits still in them! It originated in the Limousin region of France and became popular throughout the country in the 19th century.

You can use any fruit you like in this dish. I've even seen recipes using clementines. I chose rhubarb because it will soon be popping up in gardens all over Vermont. And, just like zucchini in the summer, everyone seems to have extra to give away, freeze, or use in new and interesting recipes. Roasting the rhubarb before incorporating it into the dish ensures that it will be cooked through by the time the clafoutis is done, and it adds a little sweetness. I also added blueberries, which I love for their tart, bright flavor.

You can make the clafoutis in a 9-by-13-inch pan for a thin, pancake-y delight. Or you can opt for a 9-inch round pan (or even a 9-inch cast-iron frying pan) for a slightly thicker version. (The 9-inch round takes a bit longer to cook, so increase the baking time to around 45 minutes.) The batter can be thrown together in practically no time at all.

If you really wanted to get fancy, you could make a custard-like crème anglaise to pour on top. Or you could do what we did and serve it with rich vanilla ice cream.

Blueberry-Rhubarb Clafoutis

click to enlarge mealtime1-2-777281aa9a27f6fa.jpg

Ingredients

  • ½ pound rhubarb, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1½ tablespoons sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup flour
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss the rhubarb with 1½ tablespoons of sugar and spread out in a small baking dish. Roast for 10-15 minutes, until soft. Remove from oven and set aside. Lower heat to 350 degrees.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, ½ cup sugar and vanilla. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, then stir in the flour and lemon zest until incorporated.
  4. Melt the butter (on the stovetop or in the microwave) and mix it with the milk. Add the milk and butter mixture to the rest of the batter and mix well.
  5. Spray the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch pan (or a 9-inch round pan; see above) with cooking spray, then add the blueberries and roasted rhubarb. The fruit should cover the bottom of the pan.
  6. Pour the batter over the top of the fruit and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

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