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!
Meeta K. Wolff May 23, 2007 um 6:24 am
As always a wonderful creation. A basket of home grown mirabelles and your art of turning it into a dessert is perfect. Hugs to you!
Anonymous May 23, 2007 um 6:26 am
Toi aussi tu as fais une recette pour cette cause! Et quelle belle recette! Avec les fruits de ma région!
Anonymous May 23, 2007 um 8:18 am
Mais euh c’est super cruel! J’adore le clafoutis aux mirabelles 🙂
Eva May 23, 2007 um 8:26 am
That’s definitely as yellow as it gets! And it’s ages ago since I had mirabelles – unfortunately, I can’t get a slice… Why aren’t there any mirabelles to be found in Sydney???
Anonymous May 23, 2007 um 10:31 am
I’m all about baked fruit desserts just as soon as the temperature breaks 70 for the first time each year. This looks wonderful – I’ll have to keep my eyes open for these little guys this summer because I’ve never had mirabelles.
Lis May 23, 2007 um 11:05 am
Please give Beverly a big hug for me. =)
Aimée May 23, 2007 um 12:25 pm
These look delicious, Helen, very creative! Enjoyed your compassionate post.
Cheryl May 23, 2007 um 12:27 pm
This is beautiful, Beverly did well.
Anonymous May 23, 2007 um 12:50 pm
Oh, lucky you to have someone grow mirabelles! From my region! 😉 La Lorraine!
Funny, I made a clafoutis last night, but with the first cherries 😉 On est sur la meme longueur d’onde! And glad you enjoyed the shrimp crackers, btw!
It looks lovely lovely!
Janet May 23, 2007 um 12:54 pm
Incredible. I love the way the mirabelles made little "craters" in the dessert. Perfect for filling up with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream!
Stella May 23, 2007 um 1:17 pm
What a gorgeous clafoutis Helene! I’m trying hard not to eat my fingers & try to get my eyes away from my computer screen!
Gattina Cheung May 23, 2007 um 2:08 pm
it is very important to have supportive friends like you during all the difficult time… and thanks you guys to share your spirit and this yummy clafoutis. I learn now, and will not pit my cherries 🙂 🙂
(PS… Helene, I know the due date for this month DB’s is 27th. Could I post my entry a bit earlier… like tomorrow?)
Veron May 23, 2007 um 4:14 pm
A clafoutis is on my to do list this summer. I shall be doing it with cherries though since I don’t have mirabelles. Hugs to beverly.
Patricia Scarpin May 23, 2007 um 4:43 pm
Beautiful and delicious, Helene. And I loved the story, too – send Beverly my love, please!
Kelly-Jane May 23, 2007 um 6:14 pm
A very pretty pudding, and a great post 🙂
MyKitchenInHalfCups May 23, 2007 um 7:23 pm
Beverly’s story is as beautiful as your Mirabelle Clafoutis!!
I do love the way a clafoutis bakes up it’s own decoration! I know cherry is grand now I would love to try this one.
Nora B. May 23, 2007 um 9:06 pm
Oh Helen, your creation looks beautiful. Too bad the plum season is over in Australia, but I am sure I can think of a substitute.
Nabeela May 23, 2007 um 10:38 pm
Such a touching story…and I love the easy dessert!
Chris May 24, 2007 um 1:38 am
Lovely story and Clafoutis. I love the individual portions!
Anonymous May 24, 2007 um 1:44 am
What a beautiful post and a touching tribute to your friend.
Anonymous May 24, 2007 um 4:16 am
A beautiful treat and an even more beautiful story!
Anonymous May 24, 2007 um 5:50 am
Lovely post and beautiful dessert too! I’ve never had yellow plums before, they sound fantastic.
Warda May 24, 2007 um 2:09 pm
You just won my heart Helene.I love clafoutis, especially cherries and grapes clafoutis.
Give a hug to beverly for me, please. Hope she will doing better very soon.
Cookie baker Lynn May 24, 2007 um 2:37 pm
Beverly is blessed to have you as a friend. I hope you have many more years of time together to enjoy at the gym or in the kitchen.
Anonymous May 24, 2007 um 7:44 pm
magnifique cette tartelette!!!
Anonymous May 24, 2007 um 9:02 pm
Oh my, I’ve been MIA for a few days, and I have some serious catching up to do!
Your clafoutis are simpy gorgeous, Helene! The mirabelles look to be well worth the wait! And thank you for sharing this story… my best to Beverly!
Scott at Real Epicurean May 24, 2007 um 10:51 pm
Grand Marnier is one of my favourites. Great work!
Amanda at Little Foodies May 28, 2007 um 10:49 am
Such a touching post. Beautiful pudding and a fitting tribute to your friendship. Amanda
Barbara May 29, 2007 um 4:40 am
What a touching post Helen. I’m a clafoutis fan and this is perfect.
Sunshinemom May 22, 2008 um 5:09 pm
That’s a great looking one. I have just attempted one from BBC’s site. Hope it turns out as good!