Strawberry Clafouti – Breakfast or Dessert?

I am not really fond of baking. I wish I was but somehow most of my creations end up “not-so-good.”  It might be because I don’t really fancy measuring when I cook.  Nonetheless, since having Ria I have been baking more regularly. It is easier to involve children in baking (maybe, because the end product is more desirable to kiddie tastebuds?).  Measuring is fun with kids and teaches them not only cooking, but basic math as well.

We took a stab at a clafouti with strawberries (traditionally made with cherries) recently and it was a pretty simple and turned out OK.  The batter is like a pancake batter which is then poured over fresh fruit and baked till puffed and golden.  Easier than pancakes – which made me think this could be made for brunch/breakfast with whipped cream and possibly even syrup since it isn’t very sweet.  The addition of ice-cream or some cream fraiche would make this a divine dessert.  Perhaps, peaches and plums are next.

Strawberry Clafouti – adapted from Sunset Magazine

As easy to make as a pancake (and less work), this is a classic French dessert from the Limousin region.  The fruit rises to the top, leaving a soft layer whose texture falls somewhere between custard and cake.  Ria made me add some chocolate chips to half of it….for some of us, dessert must have chocolate!!

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1/2  tablespoon  butter
  • 8  ounces  strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
  • 2  teaspoons  cornstarch
  • 3  eggs
  • 1  cup  milk
  • 2/3  cup  flour
  • 1/4  cup  granulated sugar (I might add a little more next time I make this)
  • 1 tbsp  vanilla
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting on top)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 2-qt. baking or gratin dish with the butter. Toss strawberry halves with cornstarch until evenly coated, then arrange berries, cut side down, in bottom of dish and set aside.

2. In a blender, whirl eggs, milk, flour, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt 15 seconds. Pour batter over strawberries. (We just used a whisk – more fun for kids and easier clean-up)

3. Bake until puffed, golden brown, and set in the center, about 50 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.

Yummy Garden: Our first harvest of the spring!

Clockwise top left: strawberries, blueberries ("Reka"), Sugar Snap Peas ("Oregon Sugar Pod"), Spearmint & Sage

I love spring!!! The sporadic hours we’ve put into our garden in Jan and Feb are paying off. Sugar snap peas are one of our very favorites. They love our mild, coastal climate (Sunset Zone 17) and all spring just a couple of plants will produce a nice handful of sweet, crisp pea pods every few days. My two year old’s second favorite garden activity is to hunt for pods in the tangle of foliage and to load up his dump truck with our harvest. He’ll even eat one now and again.

Strawberries and blueberries are coming around. Checking the plants and picking them clean of their fruit is, of course, his #1 favorite garden activity. Our yield isn’t impressive, but the couple dozen we get are such a treat. Leafy greens and herbs do well most of the year — and with the cool, moist air and a bit of sun, they’re super low maintenance (save our ongoing battle with slugs). We’ve been cutting from the same rainbow chard for about a year now! Artichokes and fennel are perfect for San Francisco gardens too and striking to look at… and our dwarf lemons and limes are bearing more fruit than last year which we are definitely excited about.

The space devoted to edible gardening in our yard at the moment comprises just two 6′ x 4′ beds and some scattered pots. I’m continually amazed that that small space can keep us supplied with salads and least a couple of vegetable side dishes most weeks. As our skills improve, I can’t wait to see what we can coax out of our garden. Of course, this is not to say that my picky toddler is eating many vegetables these days, but the fact that he enjoys playing with them is something I guess.

A shout out to some gardening resources we’ve been checking out lately:

GrowCookEat (Visit goodLife {eats} on Fridays during spring/summer for a collection of tips and posts from other bloggers writing about gardening); The Urban Farmer Store (the place to go for drip irrigation and more); Sloat Garden Center (our local “go-to” garden center); CUESA (seasonal eating); Annie’s Annuals (check out their “totally useful plant lists”)

Happy Spring!

It’s feeling a lot like spring around here. The weather has been fantastic and we’re diving into our first baskets of strawberries from the farmer’s market. I’m excited about the start of such a delicious time of year — eating lots of strawberries (of course!) and dusting off my favorite asparagus and artichoke recipes. CUESA has a handy fruit, vegetable and nut calendar if you want to check out what’s coming into season.