It’s not lazy, it’s French.
Clafoutis is derived from the Occitan word clafir, to fill.
And yes, there is an s, even for the singular version of the word.
(L’Occitane, anyone? L’Occitane means “a woman from Occitania.”
Occitania spans Southern France, Monaco, the Val d’Aran, which is the only part of Catelonia north of the Pyrenees, and the Occitan Valleys of Italy.)
According to Wikipedia, Occitan is comprised of 6 dialects, 2 of which are definitely endangered and 4 of which are severely endangered.
When I first discovered the UNESCO Red Book of Endangered Languages, I thought it was a little ludicrous.
However, the more I thought about the real meaning of an endangered language, and the implications of such, the more saddened I became.
The fact that a language, something so deep rooted in history and culture, can disappear within a few generations thanks to globalization and modernization, not to mention lazy teenagers/future generations, is upsetting to me.
I spent more time than I probably should have exploring UNESCO’s map of endangered languages (here).
The number of languages, ranging from vulnerable to extinct, is mind-boggling.
231 fully extinct. And that’s just in recent memory.
Cleopatra spoke 9 languages.
Nowadays, many are lucky to speak two, let alone three.
The broad scope of what we are losing is arresting, but not surprising.
We disregard our history and heritage, both intellectual and physical.
We are letting our environment fall to pieces and our culture, too.
My! I guess I’ve been feeling a little disconnected after discovering trash strewn all over a state forest.
After hiking down a long and winding path to discover that it ended in a dumpster.
Poignant or repugnant?
I don’t know.
Back to your regularly scheduled program. (…L’album Noir; The Black Album…)
This is my take on a classic French (hailing from Limousin, within Occitania) pastry, the clafoutis. It consists of an eggy custard surrounding sweet, juicy cherries.
I added a rye crust because I love rye pastry crusts.
And because I felt that the nutty richness of rye complemented the sweet stone fruits well.
Traditionally, the pits are left in this dessert, for two reasons.
One, it preserves the beautiful shape of the cherries, and prevents much of the juice from escaping, ensuring a lovely pop of flavor from each little fruit.
Two, the centers of the pits of the cherries, the noyaux, give a wonderful almond perfume to the whole tart.
The kernels in the pits of any stone fruit have a flavor reminiscent of almonds, and are indeed related to the nut.
(And third, albeit not traditional: I was lazy.)
I already had to pick through the cherries to ensure that none were past their prime, let alone try to remove their stubborn little pits with a paper clip.
These tarts are delicious, and despite the pits, they were all gone by the next day.
This clafoutis is ridiculously easy to make, gorgeous, delicious, and can be served at any temperature: warm, room temp, or chilled.
AKA fresh out of the oven, for an afternoon snack, and dessert.
Rye and Cherry Clafoutis
for the crust:
2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cup AP flour
3/4 cup coarse rye flour
for the filling:
1 egg yolk
1 cup half and half
1 tablespoons sugar
2 or so cups of fresh sweet cherries, picked over and cleaned
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the crust: beat butter and sugar together until shiny, fluffy, and smooth, about 4 minutes.
Scrape the bowl, add in the salt and flours, and mix on low until a ball forms.
Roll the dough out on a well-floured surface and transfer it as best you can into your pans. (I used a 9-inch, a 41/2 inch, and two 3 inch cake rings. I think that you could use a 10 or 11 inch pan and fit everything in one, but I wanted to have some smaller tarts on the side.)
Do not worry if it rips; it is extremely forgiving.
Just press and patch the dough into the pans as evenly as possible.
Prick all over with a fork and freeze for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, pull the shells out of the freezer and place the cherries in the bottom. (Put as many as you can humanly fit.)
Bake for 10 minutes, until you can just hear the cherries sizzling.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg, egg yolk, half and half, and sugar together.
After 10 minutes, pull the tarts halfway out of the oven and pour the custard into the shells, until it comes up the sides nearly to the top; you probably won’t use all of the custard, especially if you filled your crusts up with cherries.)
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the custard is set and the edges of the pastry are browned and fragrant.
Allow to cool (or don’t!) and serve with whipped cream, if desired.