ok, so backup, backup, backup.
i had some good apples and cider leftover from thanksgiving and i wanted to cook a little something with them and i was thinking something in a pan from the family of slumps and cobblers, but i didn't want a crumb topping and i didn't want it to be to hard (read: i am lazy) and my friend rapunsell suggested i bake a clafoutis.
so i cooked down the cut up apples a little and went from there.
and then it was so delicious plus i still had apples and cider so i made another. and then i was thinking i could make a savory one and THEN i was doing research on that and learned that properly a clafoutis is only made with black cherries, and that if you put any other fruit in it, it is properly called a flaugnarde.
so before i go off telling you how to bake these two bad boys, imma tell you the basic recipe i was working from and give you an ingredient list.
about a cup of milk (i am told alternate milks work just fine)
about a half cup flour (i am told alternate flours work fine too)
about a half cup of sugar (brown or white- whatever, and less or none for a savory batter)
2 tbps melted butter (or less. i one recipe i used none. it was just fine)
a pinch of salt. (two pinches for a savory batter)
optional vanilla, almond extract, spices, whatever you like.
basic procedure: for already soft fruits, take enough to mostly cover the bottom of your greased pan. pour the batter over the fruit and bake at 325 for about forty minutes. serve immediately (puffy) or later (dense and compact). if you undercook this slightly, you get a nice custardy center. overcook it slightly, and you get something more spongy and firm. it is really not a critical value.
there are so few critical values that i am not particularly specifying amounts of things, but i am tossing in some ballpark figures of what i used.
while you're cutting up your apples, begin to reduce cider in a pan (two cups?). this will take a while, but it does require supervision so it doesn't burn when it gets to the end. essentially you're boiling off the water and at the end you'll stir pretty constantly until you have a just barely thickening apple caramel. for right now, though, you have a pan of boiling cider.
turn your attention now to peeling your apples (for me, four medium sized apples). that done, take a couple tablespoons of butter and brown it in your pan (i'm using a dutch oven here) toss in yer apples and cook them down a little until they're a little browned and only a little softened. i like mine on the soft side, but some people prefer them crunchy. you do you.
mix up your batter so it's free of lumps. i used vanilla and almond extract in mine.
by now your cider caramel will be almost done. when the water is boiled of and the syrup starts to thicken, scrape it in to your pan with the browned-butter half cooked apples. pour the batter over it and pop it in the oven. about forty minutes later it should be golden and puffy and perfect.
DRIED TOMATO AND GOAT CHEESE FLAUGNARDE
start by soaking your dried tomatoes (about 1.5 ounces dried). i used homemade vegetable stock (a cup and a half) and a sprig of rosemary, but you can use water. you can cut the tomatoes before soaking with scissors if you like, or after with a knife. a little salt in the soaking solution will help them absorb better.
if you soaked these ahead of time and you want a flavorful glaze on the bottom (fancy!), you can just start here with taking the soaking liquid and tossing it in a pan with some balsamic vinegar (enough that the whole thing looks black?) and begin to reduce it until it just starts to thicken.
now's a good time to make your batter. i seasoned mine with a little black pepper and just a little ground sage.
turning your attention to the tomatoes, brown a tablespoon or two of butter in your pan (again, i'm using a dutch oven). the browned butter adds a nutty sweet flavor that i like. here i tossed that sprig of rosemary in to squeeze out a little more rosemary flavor before i fished the sprig out and threw it away.
your balsamic reduction is probably finishing up right about now. set it aside for a few moments.
toss yer tomatoes in the pan and let them just toast up a little until they darken. this deepens the flavor of them and brings out some caramelized sugars. spread them out in the bottom of the pan, and then scrape the balsamic tomato reduction into the bottom of the pan. scatter the crumbled goat cheese (about 2 ounces) around among the tomatoes, pour the batter in, and pop the whole thing in the oven for about forty minutes or until it's nicely golden on the top.
the balsamic reduction will look like you burned the dish, but it makes oh so lovely a sauce on the bottom.