For years readers of Laura Bradbury's bestselling Grape Series memoirs have been clamouring for the secrets behind all the mouthwatering meals described in the stories about her life in Beaune, Burgundy. In Bisous and Brioche, together with her friend, photographer and cookbook author Rebecca Wellman, Laura shares recipes that have been handed down through her husband Franck's family or passed on by French friends and neighbours, and that now feature regularly on the menu at her house.
Every French cook I know has a basic clafoutis recipe up their sleeve. Why? Clafoutis is basically a type of crêpe batter that’s poured over a wide variety of fruits, so it’s the perfect emergency dessert (which is great for me, as I tend to be rather. . . ahem. . . disorganized about meals). Luckily, it’s so delicious that it makes the cook (i.e., me) look like they have been slaving over a hot stove for hours.
The most traditional clafoutis is made with cherries picked fresh off the tree. Franck’s sister Stéphanie has a sour cherry tree and a black cherry tree in nearby Magny-les-Villers, so aawhen we are in Burgundy during cherry season, we basically eat a clafoutis a day—and somehow we never get tired of it. There is always a debate in Franck’s family as to whether it is better to leave the cherries pitted or unpitted. I’ll let you decide on that thorny issue.
Last summer I received a bounty of peaches from a friend, so I decided to use those in my clafoutis. The result was so delicious, and the recipe so easy, that I had to include it here. Feel free to have fun with clafoutis and try any number of variations—plums, apples (maybe with some cinnamon?), berries of any kind. Your imagination is the only limit. —LB
Clafoutis is best eaten the day it’s made, but if you do have leftovers, pop the dish back in a warm oven for 15 minutes, then eat the clafouti like slices of pancake, drizzled with honey or syrup.—RW
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 medium-large fresh peaches, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup + 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup fresh raspberries
4 large eggs
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp sea salt
¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup whipping cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Icing sugar for serving
Whipped cream for serving (optional)
Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-cup (9-inch square) shallow baking dish with the butter and set aside. (Cast iron works great for this.)
In a large bowl, gently toss together the peaches, the 1 Tbsp of sugar, the lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add the raspberries and gently toss again to combine. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the remaining ½ cup sugar, the flour, salt, milk, cream, and vanilla. Whisk well until all the ingredients are blended and the mixture is frothy.
Pour the fruit mixture into the prepared dish. Gently pour the custard mixture evenly over top.
Bake until firm, 45–50 minutes.
Let cool for 15 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and top with a dollop of whipped cream if you like.
Recipe by Laura Bradbury and Rebecca Wellman, from Bisous & Brioche, copyright © 2020 by Laura Bradbury and Rebecca Wellman. Reprinted with permission of TouchWood Editions.
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