Fabulous Fig Clafoutis
As much as I long to wander the cobblestone streets of France again, to nosh on freshly made crepes from a sidewalk vendor, and to sit at an outdoor cafe to watch chic Parisians flit by, I don’t think I’ll be getting on a plane anytime soon.
Yeah, thanks very much, Covid.
But I can still live vicariously and bring a taste of the French table to my own Silicon Valley kitchen, thanks to “À Table: Recipes for Cooking and Eating the French Way” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy.
The new cookbook is by Rebekah Peppler, an American food writer and stylist who makes her home in Paris now. (Yes, lucky her!)
The cookbook contains 125 recipes that are home-cook-friendly. They’re lavishly photographed by Paris-based photographer Joann Pai, whose images are bathed in that lovely golden light that brings the city to life.
Imagine yourself in the City of Lights, sitting down to cheesy “XL Gourgeres,” “French Onion Soup with Cognac,” “Coq Au Vermouth,” and “Alsatian Cheesecake.”
With plump, sweet, squishy figs in season now, I couldn’t resist baking a “Fig Clafoutis.”
This dish shows off the beauty of the figs, as halves are arrayed in a baking dish, cut-side up, before a pancake-like batter is poured in.
As it bakes, the clafoutis will rise and puff up beautifully especially along the rim, while the figs will turn jammy-soft. A sprinkle of sugar over the top will help it caramelize even more.
Spoon servings into bowls or plates. Add a touch of sea salt overtop to balance the sweetness and layer on a sophisticated nuance.
It’s a comforting dessert that’s eggy and airy like a popover, and tender like a pancake.
And it sure made me long for a glass of pastis afterward, the French way.
1 tablespoon unsalted European butter, melted
1 1/2 pounds fresh figs, stemmed and halved
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Flaky sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Brush the bottom of a 12-inch baking dish with butter and add the figs in a single layer.
In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, heavy cream, eggs, 1/3 cup of the sugar, the vanilla, and fine sea salt until the sugar is dissolved. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture over the figs and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar. Bake until the top is puffed and browned and the custard is set, 60 to 75 minutes. Sprinkle with flaky salt and serve warm or at room temperature.
From “À Table:” by Rebekah Peppler
More Fresh Fig Recipes to Enjoy: Brown Butter Almond Tea Cakes with Nectarine Slivers or Fig Halves
And: Fig Jam Bars
And: Fig Tart
And: Fig Compote