Cathy's Kitchen Prescription LLC
Clafoutis aux Cerises
Early summer is cherry season, and there’s no better time than to enjoy clafoutis, the traditional baked French fruity dessert. Traditionally, clafoutis features cherries (but apricots, peaches, berries, and plums are gorgeous too), baked in a flour-thickened custard. This gluten-free remake sidesteps the eggs, cream, sugar, butter, and white flour that are its traditional hallmarks, making use instead of whole vegan ingredients without vegan shortenings, refined flours, or sweeteners. With a negligible carbon footprint and many anti-inflammatory benefits, what’s not to love? Its sweetness relies principally on the quality of its fruit, so choose fruit at its peak freshness and flavor.
Hint: Cherry clafoutis traditionally uses unpitted cherries. The baked pits deepen the dish’s almond flavor notes and the intact cherries prevent the custard from becoming watery. However, if you are serving young children or anyone at risk of swallowing pits, pit the cherries first or choose different fruit for the clafoutis.
Prep time 20 minutes
Bake time 70-80 minutes
Makes one 10-inch clafoutis
3 ½ cups Rainier or Bing cherries, well washed, air dried, stems removed
1 cup unsweetened soy yogurt, strained for 2 hours to make 2/3 cup crème fraiche for a garnish
2/3 cup dense date paste from 1 1/3 cup pitted dates, any variety
Pinch saffron threads, about 1/8 teaspoon, bloomed in 2 teaspoons very hot water
1 cup gluten-free oat flour
1 cup unsweetened soy milk, or other plant-based milk
1 16-ounce package soft tofu, about 2 cups, drained
2 tablespoons arrowroot
3 tablespoons unsweetened soy yogurt
½ teaspoon shiro (mild, white) miso paste
1 teaspoon almond extract
Hint: I like to make my own thick, luscious soy yogurt (it’s so easy and delicious!), but any unsweetened plant-based yogurt can be used.
Preheat oven to 350°F and place rack on the upper middle shelf
To make the date paste, transfer the pitted dates to a microwavable container, cover barely with water. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, then allow to cool. Add the rehydrated, softened dates and its soaking water to a high-speed blender. Run for a minute, scraping down the sides as needed, to create a dense, smooth paste.
To bloom the saffron pistils, fill a very small bowl with 2 teaspoons of very hot water. Crumble the pistils with your fingers and add to the water. Steep until use. The saffron will color the custard golden and lend floral fragrance.
To create crème fraiche for your garnish, spoon the cup of soy yogurt onto a 15” x 15” square of clean unbleached muslin, tie it up with string, and hang the bag to strain over a bowl or the sink. After two hours, scrape the thickened yogurt into a small jar or bowl, whip it briefly with a mini whisk or spoon to create a creamy texture like crème fraîche. If it becomes too dense to be soft and creamy, thin with a teaspoon of soy milk and whisk again.
Crumble up a piece of parchment paper to soften it, then press it into 10-inch diameter ceramic or glass baking dish to line it to prevent sticking. Choose a dish with sides about 2 inches high to allow for expansion.
In a high-speed blender add the oat flour and soy milk. Blend on high for 1 minute. Scrape the dense batter into the parchment-lined baking dish and use a rubber spatula to spread it evenly. Bake it for 10 minutes to set the dough. This dough layer will form the base for the clafoutis. Remove the dish from the oven and allow it to cool.
Rinse and dry the blender. Add the drained tofu, 3 tablespoons of soy yogurt, arrowroot, date paste, saffron and its soaking water, almond extract, and shiro miso paste. Blend on high for a minute or until the batter is very smooth and uniform. Taste and correct any seasonings as you like. The color should be very pale yellow.
Use a rubber spatula to scrape the custard onto the baked crust, spreading it evenly over the surface. Now press each cherry into the thick unbaked custard, submersing them halfway into the custard. Add as many cherries as you can.
Bake for an hour and begin checking for doneness. The clafoutis is ready when the cherries are juicy and soft and the custard is lightly toasted on top. The center may still be a little jiggly but elsewhere, the custard will have set. You may need to return it to the oven for an additional 10 or even 20 minutes.
When it’s ready, transfer the clafoutis to a cooling rack and allow it time to further congeal as it cools from hot to warm. Then you can cut and plate it. Garnish with a good dollop of the soy crème fraiche and serve immediately.
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