There is a definite chill in the air now, so much that this morning I did a test run of the wood burning stove, just to make sure, for when it will really matter. I must say that it was very pleasant coming indoors to the glowing warmth in between the scattered showers of today. Thankfully by this evening the weather had improved and I was able to pick the last of the autumn raspberries, little jewels of sweetness, before the rain and the cold weather have a chance of spoiling them.
Dinner is going to be leftover tarka dal, coconut rice and raita, so I am not sure that raspberry clafoutis will be the rightful partner, but I just could not resist the temptation and thought that there was no point in postponing something I have no been meaning to make for a while. The last time I picked raspberries for a clafoutis was in July, when a friend came to visit from Singapore, so I guess this is my way to reconnect.
Clafoutis is a funny thing, it can be the most delicious of puddings (if you like custardy puds), or it can be a rather disappointing and leathery thing if not cooked properly. I think one must pay attention to two things in order to make the perfect clafoutis. First of all you need a counterpart to the richness and sweetness of the custardy cream, and this is usually given by a tart fruit (raspberries, sour cherries, damsons...). Second, the cooking time must be calibrated very well, a bit like for a quiche. Too short and the clafoutis will have a sad runny centre, too long and it will have the texture of overcooked egg white. This is caused by the evaporation of the water that is held by the proteins in the eggs. What you need to look out for is the moment when the clafoutis puffs up, a bit like a soufflé, and immediately get it out of the oven. The same goes for quiches and egg based tarts in general.
Serves 4 (or 2 very greedy people)
1/2 vanilla pod
250 ml whipping cream
15 g unsalted butter
a little icing sugar
250 g raspberries
1 small egg
2 egg yolks
90 g vanilla caster sugar
1 tsp potato flour (potato starch)
Preheat the oven to 180 and at the same time boil some water in the kettle to fill an oven dish that can comfortably accommodate the one you use for the clafoutis. Choose a ceramic dish where you can arrange the raspberries evenly, butter it lightly and sprinkle it with a little icing sugar, then place the raspberries in it.
Cut the vanilla pod down the middle and put it into a pan with the cream. Heat the cream until it is just about to come to the boil, certainly avoid leaving it to bubble furiously until it boils over, just as I did!! Once ready, scrape the vanilla seeds off and put the wiped dry pod into a jar filled with caster sugar (to create your own source of vanilla sugar).
In the meantime beat the egg and yolks together with the sugar and potato flour. When the cream is ready incorporate it into the egg mixture and whisk gently. Pour carefully over the raspberries, trying not to fold the dish, causing a mass dislodgement of fruit. Put the ceramic dish in a roasting tin and fill it with hot water, until it comes at least half way up the dish. Slide into he oven, ever so carefully, and cook for 30-35 minutes, until slightly puffed. The recipe calls for switching the oven off and leaving the clafoutis inside it with the door open, but I hadn't read that, so I took it out of the oven immediately, to no great damage I must say.
Leave to cool and enjoy either lukewarm, or cold, I would say with a glass of prosecco, once again, not very Indian!