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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Clafoutis....and thoughts for a friend.

Hello all.  I don't know about you, but one of the things I missed the most when I first went clean was custardy dessert.  Crème brulée, crème caramel, pudding, fruit tart filling, natas....I still have a hard time passing them up when they pop up on a dessert menu.

This clafoutis (along with my dairy-free crème brulée...just you wait) fills that void...and then some.  It is endlessly adaptable and über-quick to put together.  It can be made with whatever fruit is in season, fresh or frozen, and seasoned a multitude of ways.  Blueberry and cinnamon are dear friends, so I've paired them here, but I usually go with a cardamom accent for clafoutis.  Favourite past combinations include pear-mango-ginger-cardamom, rhubard-mango-lemon zest, plum-cherry-vanilla, cherry-mango-cardamom.  I add more spice or vanilla to play up whatever fruit I am using.  Please play with this recipe and let us know what combinations you try in the comments below.  You can even make savory clafoutis.

Ether way, you will get lots of antioxidants from the grapeseed oil.  I've already waxed poetic about the virtues of cinnamon, so I'll keep it short and tell you that blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant contents of any food.  They have recently been shown to improve cognitive function, more specifically memory, and to delay the onset of cognitive conditions associated with aging.  Berries have the lowest glycemic index of any fruit, so they're great for Paleo folks, as well as those with autoimmune disorders and diabetes.  Finally, recent studies have shown that freezing blueberries does no damage to their antioxidant content, so you can enjoy them all year round.  I recommend organic or wild blueberries, though, because as a thin-skinned fruit they are particularly sensitive to pesticide use.

You can lay out your fruit in a pretty pattern, which will/should  rise  to the top intact, or toss it in a jumble.  Either way, this dessert will impress.  It is perfect for company: throw it together first and let it bake as you prepare the rest of your meal and chat.  Served warm, it is very comforting.

Which is perfect right now as we are all worried about J., whose dear father is very very sick.  Please send your thoughts and prayers J.'s way as you make this, or anything else for that matter, and never forget that cooking is about feeding the people in our lives, without whom we are nothing.

Love you, J.


Blueberry Clafoutis

4 eggs
1/4 cup agave
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 vanilla bean (scraped), or 1 tsp extract
1/3 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
2-3 cups blueberries (I used frozen)

- Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease a tart pan, shallow mold, or bowl with coconut or grapeseed oil.

- Beat eggs, coconut milk, grapeseed oil and vanilla together.

- In mixing bowl, combine almond flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.

- Mix wet and dry ingredients and combine well.

- Lay fruit in the bottom of greased pan.  Gently pour mixture over fruit.

- Bake 45 to 55 mins, or until center is set.  Serve warm or chilled.