Sunday, May 12, 2013

Flaugnarde Flop

What is a flaugnarde, you ask? If you've ever heard of its cherry-studded partner, clafoutis, it's essentially the same thing but made with different fruit. It's a hybrid of cake, custard, and Yorkshire pudding, baked in a cast iron pan until puffed and golden brown.

This recipe is going to deviate slightly from the others, in that I'm going to make it on the barbecue. Nobody is quite sure when clafoutis/flaugnarde was first made, but it hails from Occitania, a region of Europe that is mostly in southern France but also spreads into parts of Italy and Spain. It is the homeland of many historical greats such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, Jean-Fran├žois Champollion, and Henri de Toulouse-Latrec, as well as being the land of the medieval troubadours, wandering minstrels espousing courtly love and chivalry.

Lots of courtly love happening at this feast!

Occitan cuisine has a definite Middle Ages feel to it, and while the origins of flaugnarde are unknown, it's a safe bet that people were making something similar many centuries ago. This is the reason I'm making it in a big heavy iron pan and cooking it over a fire. Granted, I'm using propane instead of wood, but fire regulations don't allow me to build a wood-fired brick oven on the balcony!

ANYWAY. This flaugnarde uses nectarines and raspberries, with a batter containing buttermilk, so it should be lightly sweet with a little bit of tartness to it. If you don't have a barbecue, this can easily be done in an oven.

1 tbsp butter
2 cups diced fruit
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
pinch of salt
powdered sugar for dusting

- Preheat the barbecue to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and place a large cast-iron skillet on the grill to heat as well.
- Toss the fruit with the lemon juice and set aside.
- Combine the remaining ingredients into a smooth batter, and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
Thin, eggy batter.

- Once the barbecue is fully heated, place the butter into the hot pan and swirl to coat the bottom and sides. 
- Add about half the fruit to the pan, then pour the batter over top and sprinkle with the remaining fruit. 

The puffening begins!

- Turn down the heat to low, and bake until puffy and golden brown, about 30 minutes (if you're doing this in the oven instead, keep it at the same temperature, it won't burn like it would on the barbecue). A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
- Let rest for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

- Cut into wedges and serve.

OKAY. Pretty straightforward, right? So here's where this went wrong: the serving stage. I had this beautiful, fluffy flaugnarde ready to serve, then decided "hey, why don't I turn this out onto a nice serving plate?" Aaaannd it collapsed into a heap. Thankfully it was still incredibly delicious, but if you're making this, keep it in the skillet for serving. 
Delicious fail.

Until next time,

No comments:

Post a Comment