I know I just posted about clafoutis on Monday, but, as Loulou recently pointed out, it’s clafoutis season! So maybe I’ve got clafoutis on the brain, but when I saw this month’s Royal Foodie Joust ingredients – apricots, ginger, butter – I knew that this would be the perfect vehicle to showcase them! (This is a monthly contest hosted by Jen (aka The Leftover Queen), and it’s my first time entering, so if you are a food blogger and want to vote for me, head over to the forum and sign up.
That’s a lot of links for one paragraph! Still here? So apricots in clafoutis are almost a given, but what is the best way to incorporate the ginger? I decided that adding fresh grated ginger to the batter would give the most vibrant ginger flavor.
In order to enhance the flavor of the butter I went ahead and browned it. Because who doesn’t love the nutty richness of brown butter?
I also roasted the flour before incorporating it into the batter, adding to the fullness of flavor imparted by the brown butter. I first read about this technique on Chocolate and Zucchini a couple of months ago, and have been intrigued ever since. (Note: I did attempt the Squeeze Cookies, and they were tasty but ugly, which is why you never saw them here.) The batter made, I set about arranging the apricots in an attractive manner in the baking dish. They were not exactly ideal specimens, a little worse for wear after the manhandling they received at the hands of the guy selling them. But I did my best to make them look cute for the camera.
And when it was baked and cooled, I dished it up with a scoop of brown butter ice cream on top. (I first made the brown butter ice cream a couple of Thanksgivings ago. I served it with a rustic apple pie. It was good then, and it was good now, accompanied by the sweet apricots and tangy ginger in the clafoutis.)
The ginger did seriously excellent things to the apricots, intensifying their flavor while giving a little kick of its own as well. And it was a welcome foil to the richness of all that brown butter. I’m smiling just thinking about it.
I have taken the liberty of typing up the recipes, in case you need a little weekend project.
80 g/2 ½ oz. all-purpose flour, roasted (see note)
60 g/2 oz. almond meal
50 g/1 ¾ oz. granulated sugar
50 g/1 ¾ oz. raw sugar (e.g. turbinado, cassonade)
Pinch sea salt
185 ml/6 oz. milk
1-2 Tbsp. rum
50 g/1 ¾ oz. butter, browned
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
500 g/1 lb. 1 oz. apricots, pitted and quartered
- Combine the flour, almond meal, sugars, and salt in a medium bowl.
- In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, rum, browned butter, and ginger and pour into dry ingredients. Whisk to combine. The mixture should be about the consistency of thin pancake batter. Set aside to rest at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 160C/325F. Butter an 8”x8” (or equivalent) glass or ceramic baking dish. Arrange the apricots in the dish.
- Pour the batter over the apricots and place in the oven. Bake 50-60 minutes, until the edges have puffed a bit and the center is mostly firm. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
Note: To roast the flour, spread it in an even layer on a baking sheet and roast at 175C/350F for about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice during this time. The flour will take on a hint of color, and will have a nutty, roasted aroma. This step isn’t completely necessary, but the resulting clafoutis will have a deeper flavor and a more yielding texture than one made with raw flour.
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Brown Butter Ice Cream
4 oz. butter
½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 ½ cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup brown sugar
6 egg yolks
¼ cup granulated sugar
- Place the butter into a small saucepan with the vanilla bean. Heat over medium heat until the solids in the butter begin to brown and the liquid darkens slightly in color. Remove from heat.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the cream, milk, and brown sugar to a simmer over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the yolks, granulated sugar, and salt. When the milk mixture simmers, pour a little into the yolks and whisk to combine. Return this mixture to the saucepan and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, until the custard thickens and reaches a temperature of 175-185 F. Stir in the browned butter.
- Remove the pan from the heat and strain the custard into a bowl or plastic container. Chill completely.
- Freeze in an ice cream maker, following the directions for your particular machine.
Makes a generous quart.