Monday, December 8, 2008

This baker's almost back

I have a couple more exam weeks to go - the first one this Wednesday - but I refuse to carry on being totally consumed by course work so today, I decided to have a Provençal-themed dinner to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

On the menu tonight

Seared beef tenderloin with demi-glace and peppercorn jus
Oven roasted tomatoes with herbes de Provence

And for dessert

Clafoutis with white chocolate and wild blueberries

The entire menu is from New World Provence: Modern French Cooking for Friends and Family by Alessandra and Jean-Francis Quaglia. Like Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine, this is a collection from Vancouver restaurateurs and it has all our local critics raving.

I remember very well how incredible the clafoutis at Provence Marinaside and was delighted to see that the recipe has been published. Writes the couple: "We once took it off the menu but soon customers begged us to bring it back!" Yes, I was one of those customers. I remember telling the waiter very pointedly that it was a mistake that they had taken it off the menu. Actually, I told more than one waiter that since I repeatedly asked for this dessert (I used to live right above their restaurant so I was a regular).

I immediately tried the recipe as written but found that an 8-inch tart pan wasn't quite enough to hold the rich clafoutis batter. Also, a tart crust that was not blind-baked was used and I was displeased with the slight taste of raw flour.

Remembering how glorious the dessert could be, I decided to tweak the recipe, and it follows below.

Clafoutis with white chocolate and wild blueberries
adapted from New World Provence: Modern French Cooking for Friends and Family by Alessandra and Jean-Francis Quaglia

For the pastry shell: Use Dorie Greenspan's sweet tart dough. Very lightly press the crumbly dough onto and up the sides of a deep 8" ceramic pie dish. Freeze for at least half an hour. Line with foil, and blind bake with pie weights for 20 minutes at 375 F. Remove the foil and weights and let the crust cool to room temperature.

For the filling: Chop 9 ounces white chocolate and set aside. Whip until barely stiff 1 cup heavy cream, then set aside in the refrigerator. Cream 2/3 cup of sugar and 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, then slowly add one egg. If the mixture curdles, whip at a higher speed. The mixture should be homogenous and airy. Fold in 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (spoon lightly into cup then sweep). Fold whipped cream into the batter in three portions. You can be fairly heavy-handed with the first third because the batter is quite stiff, but be gentler with folding the last two thirds. Scatter the chopped white chocolate onto the crust. Dollop and spread one third of the batter. Press in 1 1/2 cups wild blueberries. Dollop and spread the last two thirds batter, leaving a free one-inch margin all around (the batter will spread as it bakes).

Bake at 350 F for 50 to 65 minutes, or until the clafoutis is puffed, golden and still slightly jiggly at the centre two inches. This will set some more with the residual heat of the ceramic dish. Cool to room temperature. Run a thin spatula around the rim of the clafoutis; this will make serving easier and more neat. Chill in the refrigerator for two hours or serve at room temperature.

Wish me well for my exams and see you in a couple weeks.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What a great menu! That Clafoutis looks delightful!

All the best with your exams!



The Food Librarian said...

Glad to hear you are doing well. This looks great. Best of luck on your exams!

Katina said...

Wow, your pics are absolutely amazing and you're such a talented baker. My sister who's in your med class told me about your blog so I (a food blog nerd) thought I'd check it out - and I'm very glad did! Good luck with exams :)

SoCal Pastry Chef said...

I definitely wish you well on all exams and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY. I've been away for a while too, I've even changed my damn blog name. Come visit me. I use to be "fablifeofi2daj...." but I'm now "".That's right, like you I've entered school. My first set of finals are tomorrow... so I'm sending "good grade dust" your way, and spilling some on me too!