We can all thank Beverly for this gorgeous mirabelle clafoutis, fit for A Taste of Yellow, the event ran earlier in the month by Barbara. I know, I know, the roundup is done and your eyes can feast upon more than one hundred creations, but keep reading, it's important.
Beverly has been a member of my gym for over ten years, a soft and at the same time outspoken woman, she's always had a comforting word when things were not going easy. She has that way of saying one phrase, with the perfect poise, perfect look and body language and you know things are going to be ok. Her gym time is her social time with a small group of women 55-75, and it is not uncommon for her to stay 2-3 hours between the cardio, chit-chat, some weights...and more chats in the sauna. A couple of years ago, she stopped showing up and after a couple of weeks I picked up the phone only to hear her daughter say that she was undergoing chemo to treat an advanced colon cancer. Beverly has come to know a lot of things about me, but what she does not know is how much I cried staring at the receiver that afternoon when I got the news. This nonchalant, life loving, sensitive and caring woman was down...but trust Beverly to put up a fight, beat the odds and become a survivor.
She knows about my geeky blogging obsession and when I told her about the LiveStrong Day Event, she vowed to bring me little yellow plums, "mirabelles", from her garden. A few days before the due date, she came to me panicking because they were not ripe enough to be pulled from the tree yet. This monday afternoon she brought me a basket full of the juiciest little yellow plum, apologizing for missing the event. I told her I would make a yellow dessert again anyway, unfortunately cancer knows no deadline. The first dessert that came to my mind is my grandfather's favorite, clafoutis.
Clafoutis is another traditional home and bistro dessert in France. Traditionally made with cherries, it is the dessert your grandmother was most likely to serve to comfort you and probably the first one you would learn how to make with your mom. It is best served at room temperature and it is the perfect cross between a cake and a custard. Oh goodness, did I eat my share growing up in Provence on a property with 2 humongous cherry trees.
I can't speak for all French families, but in mine we never pitted the cherries or plums we used in the dish, it truly adds depth of flavor. The dish is so simple to make and eat, it is nice to stumble on the pith and take the time to savour each bite.
1 handful yellow plum per dish
3 ounces flour
1 ounce cornstarch
1 1/2 cups milk
1 ounce butter, melted
4 ounces sugar
1 tsp. grated orange zest
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, flour, cornstarch, sugar. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, melted butter. Slowly pour the liquids over the dry ingredients, whisking well making sure there are as little lumps as possible.
Divide among 4 dishes and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool to room temperature. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
See what I mean about easy and satisfying? You can change the fruits and the liquor everytime you make one. You can even skip the liquor as does my grandfather: clafoutis has been on his breakfast menu for many many years. He might be on to something as he is 97 years old, still drives short distances, 20/20 vision and all his mental faculties ( I dare say better than mine!). Thank you Beverly and thank you Papi for putting this dessert on our table tonight!