Monday, October 18, 2010

FLOGNARDE (Clafoutis) aux POMMES


My husband gave up all hope of his usual distinguished and discreet passage through the market on Saturday morning as we approached our favorite fruit and vegetable stand. An uncontrollable (or uncontrolled?) squeal of delight escaped my lips as I caught sight of the bounty of newly arrived autumn treats: plump burnt orange pumpkins and squash, rolly poly sweet potatoes, deep chocolate-colored figs nestled snugly together inside their tiny wooden crate. Mushrooms, the common to the uncommon, lay placidly, as mushrooms are wont to do, in piles near the front in elegant, gentle shades of brown and cream and gold while the first clementines made their tentative appearance from sunny Spain. Tumbles of grapes and sacks of chestnuts are the season’s harbingers as the sun chases the gray rainy days away and skittles back to town.


I slip my hand into his, my excitement palpable, as visions of autumn’s best savory dishes and sweet treats flutter through my head; soups and risotti, pies and cakes. I’m taken back to bright, chilly weekends spent with his parents in their small country village, bundling up in sweaters and coats, dog let off the leash to enjoy a day of complete freedom, skirting around the old stone houses and along the edges of the fields (with a nod towards the occasional cow) and ending up at the apple orchards stretching gracefully into the distance. Finding our way back home, chilled to the bone, our cheeks and noses flushed from the fresh air, to find a pot of hot coffee and a warm apple tart on the table. Or brisk walks through the vineyards outside of Nantes, new city, new dog but the same chill air and bright sun welcome us to yet another autumn as we laugh and chatter among the lush, green vines heavy with fruit, giggling as Marty pushes his snout into les grappes and elegantly picks grape after grape; even he is hungry for autumn fruit. Home again finds us digging into yet another lovely apple pie.


The apple and pear people are back, as well, taking up their usual market spot outdoors under the eaves. Two vibrant women, hair hurriedly pushed back into scraggly ponytails, old, worn cardigans tucked under heavy blue cotton aprons, dash back and forth from client to bin and back again, selecting from a seemingly never-ending array of apples and pears fresh off the branches, explaining which are for eating, which baking, which are sweet and which are tart. I glance over the crude wooden crates filled with golden green and red fruit and breath in deeply the wonderful fragrance of autumn as we await the "go ahead" nod from one of the vendeuses. JP leans in towards her and asks “ what do you suggest for a clafoutis?” and she begins scooping up bright Reines des Reinettes and placing them in her battered plastic tub that sits atop the scale. “Yes, definitely, les Reines des Reinettes,” she explains. “You can always use sweet Golden, but Reines des Reinettes add a touch of tartness which, when baked, heightens and brings out all of the apples’ full flavor!”

My husband had come to me Saturday morning with that sweet, childlike “I am going to ask you a favor” look in his eyes, the one that never fails to melt my heart and make me laugh, and told me that he was in the mood for an apple clafoutis. But not just any clafoutis, the one he saw in my latest issue of Saveurs magazine. Ever wary of summer stone fruits and the dulling of flavor we have experienced over the past several years, he prefers apples and pears grown abundant and closer to home and waits patiently for autumn to roll around. Crisp, sweet apples with a touch of tartness or sweet pears, the flesh soft and meltingly smooth, he will enjoy one at the end of every meal, often pairing his choice with crusty baguette and a salty, creamy roquefort or nutty comté, a tangy goat cheese or an astonishing maroilles, as the French so love to do. But this time, he saw a beautiful, mouthwatering photo in a glossy magazine and urged me to fulfill his desire.


When it comes to dessert, homemade pastries and baked goods, my man gets right to the point: apples or pears! Tarts and galettes, cakes and strudels, he always requests apples or pears. It may simply be the addition of fruit that makes him feel a tad more saintly or a dash less naughty, or it may be that he loves the sweet fruitiness of autumn’s best balancing out the cake or crust, but whatever it is this is what he wants. And what my man wants…my man gets.

But what, you are wondering, is a Flognarde? Nothing more, nothing less than a clafoutis in reality, but local is as local does and in certain regions in France the lovely clafoutis is referred to as a flognarde. And as we associate clafoutis with cherries, the flognarde is usually made with apples or pears. The perfect autumn treat.


I am sending this to lovely Ivonne for Magazine Mondays at Cream Puffs in Venice! Enjoy your trip, Ivonne!


APPLE TARTLETS
Flognarde aux Pommes from Sept-Oct 2010 Saveurs magazine, slightly tweaked

This is traditionally made without a pastry crust but I was in the mood for a creamy, fruity tartlet so I made 6 tartlets lined with my own Sweet Pastry Crust and 2 clafoutis/flognarde in ceramic mini quiche dishes without a crust. They were both perfect.

Without a crust served in individual quiche dishes.

Individual tartlets with crusts.

Makes 8 – 4 ½-inch (11 cm) tartlet tins/mini quiche dishes*

1 Sweet Pastry Crust (optional)
2 or 3 apples – I used crispy, sweet, slightly tart Reine de Reinette
1 ½ cups (350 ml) milk (I used low fat)
3 large eggs
scant ½ cup (90 g) sugar
½ cup + 1 Tbs (70 g) flour
2 Tbs vegetable oil (or any neutral-tasting oil)
Dash vanilla extract

* You could also make one large tart or clafoutis, with or without a pastry crust.

Prepare your Sweet Pastry crust using my recipe and following my instructions. Wrap the finished dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes until easy to roll out without sticking too much to the rolling pin. When working with this buttery dough, it is best to work very quickly and handle it as little as possible. Keep your work surface floured as well as dusting the surface of the dough with more flour as needed to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin.

If you are not lining the tins or baking dishes with Pastry then generously butter the bottom and sides.

Pre-bake your crusts by very carefully rolling out and lining 6 of the tartlet tins. Place the tins on one large baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Place pieces of oven-safe parchment paper or aluminum foil into each pastry-lined tin, fill with uncooked beans or pastry weights and bake for 5 minutes, then remove the paper or foil with the beans and continue baking for another 5 - 8 minutes until set and golden. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack while you prepare the tartlet filling. Keep the tins on the baking sheet.

Increase the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C).

Peel and core the apples then cut into chunks. Divide them evenly between the tartlet tins or quiche dishes.

Gently heat the milk until warm. In a medium or large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until blended and foamy. Add the sugar, flour, oil and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk in the warm milk.

Using a ladle, carefully pour the liquid batter over the apple chunks in the tins, filling up to the rim. Carefully lift the entire baking sheet and slip in the preheated oven. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until the flognarde is puffed and golden. If your oven, like mine, bakes unevenly, do not hesitate to flip the baking sheet back to front halfway through the baking time.


46 comments:

El said...

You're husband made the right request. This looks sensational. So glad to hear the two of you are enjoying fall!

Sara@OneTribeGourmet said...

Once again a mouth watering post! I love Clafuoutis! Your hubby sounds so sweet! :)

shaz said...

Oh how sweet, your husband is indeed a lucky man. Your description of the markets at fall had me feeling a little wistful for our autumn just past, and I'm actually a warm weather girl! The flognarde looks delicious both ways.

My Kitchen in the Rockies said...

What a wonderful post. The Apple Clafoutis look so delicious.

Bonnie said...

I love this post. Apples are a favorite around here. The photos of the flognarde are stunning.

natalia said...

How delightful ! The descriptio of the market is fantastic !

Shulie said...

Hi Jamie, I love Clafoutis. Haven't made it in years maybe your post will now inspire me. Looking gorgeous! Shulie

A Thought For Food said...

This is absolutely gorgeous! I could look at these pictures all day!

And now I have another apple recipe to make! Woo hoo!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Fall is very exciting food-wise! I cannot go to the market without coming back with loads of gorgeous seasonal products.

That flognarde looks so good. I want some, please!!!

Cheers,

Rosa

Ananda Rajashekar said...

most gorgeous apple pie i have seen lately, can't wait to try :)

RamblingTart said...

What a beautiful jaunt to the market, Jamie! I can just picture those ladies in their rumpled cardigans and crazy hair. :-) Scrumptious tart and clafoutis! :-)

Miriam said...

Jamie, thank you so much for your sweet comments at my blog! And because they made me discover yours... I simply love clafoutis and flognardes, whether they're the same thing or not... and love apple pie too, so this is a winner with me!

Heavenly Housewife said...

I love the way you describe the market, I almost feel like I am there. I only wish I was there now to eat this beautiful clafoutis ;)
*kisses* HH

Jennifurla said...

You transported me there! I love these and the whole picture is to die for.

Nina Timm said...

We both hav an apple theme, could it be great minds....?

Love the your pics!!

Asha @ FSK said...

I have got to make this now!! it's simply stunning!!!

Barbara Bakes said...

This really does look like a perfect autumn treat. Wish we had markets like that here.

UrMomCooks said...

Delicious and lovely! I have skirted around the clafoutis, but now I really want to make one! Alas, my apples will be imported from states far away from my own, but I want to make one awesome apple dessert before fall slips away... Thanks!

faithy, the baker said...

these tarts look scrumptious and mouthwatering!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

Just beautiful! I've wanted to make a flongarde for so long; and you've reminded me why

Juls @Juls' Kitchen said...

Never made a clafoutis, go figure a flognarde! isn't it time to try one of them? I do think so!!

Peggy said...

I wish my husband (to be) would request desserts with fruit! It's chocolate all the way for him! But this is too good for me to pass up... he's gonna have to start liking desserts with fruit in them!

Lora said...

So sweet, your husband's request. Gorgeous perfect for fall dessert.

Prerna@IndianSimmer said...

First time in ur blog and I'm not really sure why is that. I've been learning abt u from Deeba, meeta n a lot more bloggers but never really got a chance to visit ur space. Now I'm sure I'll be coming back again!
Gorgeous space u have here and ur ABOUT info just cracked me up :-)
Good Luck to you and looking forward to connecting with you!

Dianna said...

These look fantastic and I can't wait to try them. I have Pink Lady apples which I really enjoy so will give them a try.

How do you think substituting fresh pineapple would work? I'm always looking for ways to cook with fresh pineapple.

Jamie said...

@Dianna - Thank you much! Really any fruit works great in a clafoutis - just make sure that whatever fruit you used is well drained so as not to add to much extra liquid to the batter. Fresh pineapple would work beautifully, and you can even add a handful of grated coconut for something a bit more tropical.

Cherine said...

This is stunning!! Your flognarde is simply mouthwatering!!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Darling Jamie, you are one of a very few people that can make the colder change of seasons sound absolutely enticing! :P

Sanjeeta kk said...

Delicious and tempting Clafoutis! Beautiful clicks.

Jamie said...

@Sanjeeta KK - Thanks so much.

@Prerna - So glad that Deeba and Meeta can introduce us! They are two of my favorite bloggers and best friends. Your visits are more than welcome! Come in and enjoy the food and the stories!

lisaiscooking said...

Interesting to know! I wasn't familiar with flognarde, but it looks scrumptious. I love it when Kurt makes a kitchen request. They're few and far between, but he always gets his requests!

Peter M said...

This don't look like no ordinary clafouti...this is Clafoutiriffic!

MeetaK said...

I do love the produce of Autumn - I agree it's abundance makes spending time in the kitchen all the more pleasurable. I'll need to get JP to teach me that look - maybe I can practice it on you in November! Lovely treat Jamie!

Jamie said...

@MeetaK _ LOL you crack me up! And you don't need the look you just give me a hug and I melt! I can't wait for end of November!

Sophie said...

Your apple tartlets look amazing, my friend!! really appetizing too!

Georgous fall food!

sarah said...

we really have to go to the market together one day, I react the same exact way :-), lovely clafoutis, another dessert I never made and would love to try.

Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having said...

Your market sounds wonderful, I love markets in the fall. And the clafoutis looks unbelievable!

Lorie said...

Looks absolutely delish... a perfect fall dessert.

Linda said...

These are simply gorgeous!

elra said...

I've been wanting to make flognarde since forever, thanks for the recipe jaime.

OysterCulture said...

I'd be squealing with delight if I was offered one of these. It looks simply amazing and just about perfect in every regard.

Couscous & Consciousness said...

These look wonderful with or without the crust. So funny reading of your delight at the market over new autumn produce - I was nearly over the moon at the market yesterday to see the first baby fennel and artichokes, and of course asparagus is in abundance here now too :-)
Sue

Eliana said...

Wish I was enjoying one of these individual tarts right now. They look amazing.

asiangrrl said...

Jamie, my favorite posts of yours are ones like this--wonderful background story coupled with a mouthwatering, gorgeous dish.

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

I think I've said this on here before but I love the word clafoutis as it sounds like a sneeze. I must get around to making one, I like how you've done two versions, one with pastry crust and one without. I think the latter is easiest!

AdriBarr said...

Lovely. Lovely. Lovely.

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