So I think I may have failed hosting a baking group 101 this week. It is 2:00pm local time, and I am just now getting my post up having just finished baking MY assignment a little bit ago. I certainly have my excuses as I've been out of town more than home in the past couple of weeks. But those aside, I should have planned a little better and for that I apologize!
Excuses completed, Happy Mothers' Day to any mom's out there (including my own!). Hopefully, you all were able to have a wonderful day with your families! This is my second time hosting SMS, and I always find it a little bit nerve racking to choose the recipe. No doubt, it is a little bit fun, but both times I found myself worrying about which recipe would fit in with what people are doing in their lives right now. May is often a busy month, so I wanted a recipe that wasn't too complicated but was also pretty enough that it could be served at any of the gathering opportunities that this month provides. In addition, my other requirement is that I wanted to pick something that is different from the types of desserts I usually make on my own. Since I have never had nor heard of a clafoutis and it seemed like a dessert that would have a great presentation, this was the recipe I chose.
As is typical, whenever you are in a hurry to make a recipe, nothing seems to go right. You might notice that my "cherries" are less than red in the pictures. Oddly enough, the store we stopped by to pick up my last minute ingredients did not carry frozen cherries. After a quick google search for clafoutis on my phone, I settled on using frozen blueberries, but I would really like to try this again using cherries. Cherry-almond is such a classic combination, and it sounds like they would pair well together here. My other problem came in the shape of a large crack in my cookie crust while it was baking. My tart pan has a removable bottom to make it easier to take the tart out of the pan after baking. As you can imagine, the crack combined with the non-sealed bottom of the pan lead to a dripping tart after I poured in the custard mixture. Thank goodness for an old cookie sheet under my pan!
Despite my lack of planning, the tart looks like it turned out quite well. We haven't cut into it yet because it is still cooling, but I am excited to try it after dinner. My husband and I both really enjoy custard-type pies, so I'm hoping it will be as good as it looks! Even though I was a less than stellar host, thanks for baking along with me this week ladies! Be sure to stop by the blogroll to check out tarts from the other members!
Cherry (or Blueberry) Clafoutis Tart
From The Sweet Melissa Baking Book
Cookie Crust (enough dough for two 9- or 10-inch tarts):
14 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pre-baked tart shell
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean
3 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
pinch kosher salt
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 cup frozen cherries, thawed and drained, or 1-1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted
3 Tbsp. sliced blanched almonds, toasted for sprinkling
powdered sugar, for sprinkling
For the crust, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, zest, and slat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine. Add the flour and mix until combined. Be sure to scrape down the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat it together into one piece. Divide the dough into two equal parts, flatten into 6-inch round disks, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Put what you will use today in the fridge and place the other in the freezer for another time. Chill the half in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes before rolling.
When the dough is chilled through, remove it from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes, until it is malleable. Lightly flour a work surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough, and using a rolling pin, press gently on the dough from the middle upward, and the the middle downward. Turn the dough disk a quarter turn and repeat the light pressing process. Add more flour if needed to prevent sticking. The dough should now be a round, flatter version of the original dough disk. Sprinkle lightly with more flour if necessary, and gently roll the dough so that it is in an inch wider all around than it was. Make a quarter turn, lifting the dough if it is sticking and lightly flouring the work surface below. Repeat until the dough is roughly 12-inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick. Place the dough in a pie plate or tart pan and press lightly to fit. Do not stretch the dough. Instead, push the dough with your fingers until it is in place. Trim the edge of the dough so that there is 1/2-inch of dough hanging over the edges. Turn the excess dough under itself, creating a nice uniform edge to crimp. If you have any cracks or holes, patch them by pressing the dough together with your fingers. Refrigerate until firm, 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the crust with parchment paper or lightly greased aluminum foil, and then fill it to the top with pie weights (dry rice or beans also work). Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until lifting the liner, the crust appears "dry" and no longer has the appearance of raw dough. Remove the weights and liner. If the edges are getting brown, lightly tent with aluminum foil. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the crust is lightly golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool before filling.
For the custard filling, in a heavy saucepan, stir together the heavy cream and the milk. Using a small paring knife, split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the pod to the cream mixture. Place over medium heat and bring to scalding (180 degrees F on a candy thermometer). Scalding liquid will be steaming, and tiny bubbles will form on the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside to seep for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. After the seep time, in a slow steady stream, whisk the still warm cream mixture into the egg mixture. Stir in the almond extract. Strain the mixture through a fine-meshed strainer into a clean bowl.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the tart shell on a rimmed cookie sheet. Scatter the cherries evenly over the bottom of the prebaked shell. Pour the custard over the cherries. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the custard is set. Remove to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Sprinkle the almonds around the edge of the tart and dust the almonds with powdered sugar. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. This clafoutis is best eaten the day it is made.