The Philosopher generally leaves all things cooking to me. His talent is to create grilled cheese sandwiches, scrambled eggs, and bowls of cereal. I am happy to be the chosen cook when his cooking options are so limited. Thankfully, we have both found an ability to bring something different and unique to our relationship and happily, it usually seems to work pretty well. The Philosopher did bring a handful of recipes from his past that are favorites. I have yet to make a zucchini bread to his liking; however, one option was ripe for the making.
I have found myself unable to pass the peach farmer at the farmer’s market for the last few weeks. I was initially drawn by the large crowd that stretched and wrapped around their truck. Peaches must be good if they are worth waiting in the August sun for. I could see people leaving the stand literally pulling peaches from their bag and beginning to eat on the spot-peach juices running down their faces. Since that morning, I have become a believer in Central Ohio peaches. My bounty from last week was looking a little ripe as I managed to walk away with more than two humans can consume (important note, I also got 8 pounds of tomatoes in my CSA last week). I needed a recipe to finish the three very ripe peaches on my counter. I began searching for options and fell upon a Philosopher’s favorite photocopied from a former roommate for Pear Clafouti. The copy appears to come from the book Barefoot in Paris and begins with the suggestion that the recipe is generally used with fresh cherries. I decided to use my peaches. First, I should warn you that I have made this in the past, with pears as suggested. This is when I learned the apparent impossibility to find the needed pear brandy. At that time, I purchased a bottle of apricot brandy which has been waiting in my basement for it’s next appearance. Here’s the recipe, with my adaptations for your summer fruits.
1T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 c plus 1T granulated sugar
3 extra large eggs, at room temperature (mine came straight from the refrigerator)
6T all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c heavy cream
2t vanilla extract
1t granted lemon zest (I used 2 lemons and did not measure the zest)
1/4t kosher salt
2T pear brandy (I used apricot brandy, since it was readily available)
2-3 ripe but firm pears (I used 3 peaches)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10×1 1/2″ round baking dish (I used my spring-form pan) and sprinkle bottom and sides with 1T sugar.
Beat the eggs and the 1/3c sugar in bowl with electric mixer on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in flour, cream, vanilla, lemon zest, salt and brandy. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, core and slice peaches. Arrange in a single layer, slightly fanned out, in the baking dish. Pour the batter over the pears and bake until top is golden brown and the custard is firm, 35-40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.
I used a mixer, but I just heard a caller on The Splendid Table talk about making this without a mixer. Lynn suggested starting out with the flour and slowly adding the wet ingredients (cream, brandy, and eggs) to make sure you don’t end up with lumps.
You may think you can leave out the brandy, and you probably could, but I think the brandy may be the best part. It adds a dept of flavor to the custard that really raises this dessert to something that feels extra special, even though it really is quick and easy to make.
We ate this after dinner with a cup of coffee and thoroughly enjoyed it. Have another fruit you would like to try? I bet this would be fabulous. My guess is that you would want to use sturdier fruits that would hold up well to baking, but my first thought for next time was that I should dot the peaches with blueberries.