Summer Things - Clafoutis, and Financier with Nectarines and Sangría!
It's not summer yet. As a matter of fact, it so windy and chilly at dawn and night that it barely feels like spring! But the fruit stands in the grocery stores beg to differ. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and hey what's that golden peachy globe of joy? Nectarines! One of my favorite stone fruits!
It's certainly not summer yet. So nectarines are not ripe. They are a bit hard, crunchy and not very sweet. So I thought I'd warm them up in the oven and treat them to some nice dessert! I feel like something French these days, something simplistic, elegant yet delicious. Puff pastry and fruit tart are great choices, but the former has made too many appearances lately and the latter...it just feels a bit too much work for me today.
Simple and tasty French desserts...you can't find another PAIR like Clafoutis and Financier! No pun intended, but you CAN actually make them with PEARS, a winter stone fruit.
Also spelled as Clafouti, is a traditional baked French dessert of fruit. Quick facts about Clafoutis:
It was originally made with black cherries, and later on with other seasonal fruits such as berries, apples, prunes and pears etc.
It can be served warm or cold, with whipped cream or dusted with powdered sugar.
The batter is thin and runny, kind of like that for a Dutch Baby.
It's so easy and quick to make that you can bake it while having dinner and serve it right afterwards as dessert. I made this the night before so we could enjoy it the next morning as breakfast.
Since my nectarines are not very ripe, I decided to macerate it with white wine. There is a great story published on "The Splendid Table" by Sally Swift and Lynne Rossetto Kasper in 2012 about macerated nectarines. It's such a nice way to enhance those already-delicious great fruits, and at the same time get sangría to enjoy while you bake! Well, I love to keep things simple, healthy and tasty! Sally and Lynne gave me inspiration, and I simplified the recipe to:
Peel and slice up 2 nectarines to 1/4 inch thick pieces
Put the nectarine pieces in a shallow bowl,
Pour 1 cup dry white wine (Pinot Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc can't go wrong) onto the nectarine pieces
Let them steep for 15 minutes
Voilà! There you have it! Nectarine sangría, and flavor-enhanced nectarines!
To make a clafoutis is just like to bake a pancake with fruit topping. Epicurious has a recipe of nectarine and blueberry clafoutis. I've cut down the sugar, and left out the blueberries. So here is my version:
2 nectarines, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup white wine (for macerating, and drinking)
5 tablespoons butter, melted
4 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 325°F. and butter a 9 by 13 inch shallow baking dish.
Macerate nectarines (see above)
In a large bowl whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, salt, then flour until well combined; whisk in milk, butter, and vanilla.
Use a pair of tongs to pick out the nectarine pieces and arrange them at the bottom of the baking dish.
Pour batter over the fruit
Bake in the oven for 55 to 60 minutes.
Take out the baking dish and let it cool down. Serve it warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream or powdered sugar.
There are some back stories about the name of this dessert. Essentially, it's the looks (resembling a block of gold), and the fact that it's such an easy no-mess quick bite (makes a great breakfast for those busy bankers). It looks like a fruit tart, but fluffier and lighter. Since it's made with almond meal and egg whites, it scores extra for being healthy!
My favorite recipe is Chef John's. Again I'm using nectarines here instead of peaches. As always, I've cut down on the sugar. Since I hadn't got my rectangular tart mold, I used an 8 by 8 inch square baking dish lined with parchment paper. The final product look great and taste sweet and delicious!
3 egg whites
1/4 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond meal
3 tablespoons flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 nectarines, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick pieces
Preheat the oven to 400°F, line one 8''x8'' baking dish with parchment paper;
In a small sauce pan or pot, melt the butter and toast on medium low heat for about 5 minutes until it's golden brown, let it cool down;
Whisk egg whites for about one minute until foamy, no need to beat it into soft peaks;
Into the egg whites, whisk together sugar, salt, vanilla extract, almond meal and flour, mix well;
When the butter has cooled down, add it to the batter mixture in 4;
Pour the batter into the baking dish, bake for 5 minutes;
Take out the baking dish, top with the nectarine slices, continue to bake for about 15~17 minutes until it appears golden on the top and brown around the edges;
Let the Financier cool down in the baking dish for about 10 minutes, remove it carefully and transfer it to your serving plate, cut into desired shapes and sizes, and ENJOY!