A little comfort dessert for a surprisingly eventful week

I feel like, with my constant burning hunger and my absolute pure joy just to eat, one of my absolute favorite activities is to find new restaurants that actually have good food (because, I find, restaurant food is usually anything but special) and bakeries with new treats I've never tried. I especially like doing this with Megan because she is one of the few people I know who loves to do the same! I’m sure others enjoy eating at new places, but Megan seems to be constantly looking for new and different food stops, which is how I got into it and ended up spending my Saturday in Ferndale.

We had “lunch,” which was really dinner as it was after four pm, at Como's Restaurant and Pizzeria, where I had one of the better chicken dishes I’ve found. It was covered, absolutely covered, in roasted garlic. I didn’t even need my sides and I always need a side. After Como’s, we went off to our real destination, Pinwheel Bakery, where I discovered my complete, unqualified love for macarons. All my life, the only macaron I've ever eaten was this past Saturday at Pinwheel, but I'm totally addicted! They’re little almond-based meringue sandwich cookies filled with buttercream and there are so many different flavors! Megan had a coffee macaron, which reminded her of my mocha cupcakes (I haven’t made them in years and should probably fix that!), and I had a blackberry, which was actually pretty fruity tasting with just the right amount of sweet! They were the perfect size, too. You really only needed to eat one, though I wanted to eat ten J

There were actually a lot of different cookies that I'd never seen in a bakery before too…chai tea cookies (I think like Mexican wedding cookies, but with different spices), cardamom cookies, tiny "cappuccino coins" with equally tiny chocolate morsels, even rosemary cookies! I had to get myself a little cellophane baggy filled with one of each, just in case I’d find a new favorite and because I might discover something I’d like to reproduce at home. Of course, the winner was the macaron and I had only tried one of five flavors.

After our little food outing, Meg and I did some shopping, popped by her boyfriend's fantasy football draft for a drink, which then turned to two, and, finally, I had just enough time to stop by my mom's to pick something up and then drive aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall the way back home to get Billy so we could drive half an hour in the opposite direction to be late to a friend's apartment for the funniest drinking game of all time, set to The Jersey Shore, that is sure to get you off your rocker.

Having stayed out late for a friend's barbecue the night before, it was definitely a weekend filled with more fun than I'm used to! I was simply exhausted by Sunday and yearning for some comfort food, which brings us to my very first barbecue ribs, which were so tender (thanks to a method I learned from Megan’s boyfriend), we had to eat them with forks because the entire sheath of meat would fall cleanly off the bone when you tried to pick it up…

…and also, my very first clafoutis, made with figs and raspberries.

I got the recipe from my mom's copy of The Best of Gourmet: 1988 Edition...which she just bought for a dollar, by the way...When I saw the dish had figs in it, a fruit you rarely see in recipes anymore, I just couldn't pass! It was so incredibly easy to make too. All I had to do was slice the figs in half, arrange them in a dish with the berries, mix up some batter, and pour it in! 

After that, I let my oven do all the work and spent the next hour laying on the couch with the amazing scent of freshly baked fruit wafting all around me.

When the clafoutis had finally cooled, just enough to serve, I found myself finishing off my small slice so quickly and fervently, I had to take twice as much for seconds. It was everything I was looking for that night...warm and sweet, moist and refreshing...creamy, yet chewy, yet crunchy (from the sugar sprinkled over the top). I'd like to take a piece to work every…single…day this week to warm up in our little toaster oven, but I'm going to at least attempt to behave myself!

Fig and Raspberry Clafoutis

  • 1 lb (about 9) fresh figs, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1/4 cup blanched whole almonts
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp Tawny Port
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbp cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Arrange the figs cut side up decoratively in a buttered 11-inch-long gratin pan, 1.5 inches deep (5 cups), and sprinkle the raspberries around them. In a blender or food processor grind fine the almonds with the flour, add the milk, 1/3 cup of the sugar, the eggs, the Port, and the salt; blend the custard well, stopping the motor and scraping down the sides as necessary. Pour the batter slowly over the fruit, dot it with the butter, and sprinkle it with the remaining 2 tbsp sugar. Bake the clafoutis for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden and the custard is set. Transfer to a rack and let cool for 20 minutes; serve the clafoutis warm with whipped cream, if desired.

I think this is absolutely delicious warm. If you end up with leftovers, keep them in the fridge, but I recommend warming it back up in the oven before eating, to ensure the top re-crisps. I'm not a fan of microwaves for reheating food, at all, and don't actually own one, but obviously, if you don't care about the clafoutis having the original texture, a microwave is fine. 

I also recommend trying this recipe with other fruits; stone fruits would be especially delicious, I'm sure! Technically speaking, I believe a clafouti traditionally contains cherries, so you may want to try that as well. I think the next time I make one, I'm going to try plums or apricots, which I think would probably be the perfect size when halved :) 

And, though I'm a huge fan of fruit, especially cooked fruit, my favorite part of the dish was actually the custard! So, I may also reduce some of the fruit, in the future. I'd say this is a dish where you probably have a lot of options, depending on your taste/texture preferences.

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