Cherry Clafoutis

 

20170704_121119By Corinne

What is clafoutis? It’s traditionally a French dessert (but I love it for breakfast!). I don’t even know how to properly describe it- it’s somewhat like a custardy dense cake that’s full of delicious fruit. In any case, it whips together so quickly that you can have it ready to go by the time your oven is preheated.

Clafoutis is one of those magical dishes that can work for either breakfast or dessert. If you want to finish it with some powdered sugar, or even some whipped cream, or ice cream to make it dessert then go for it! I tend to make it for breakfast, and because I am impatient and hungry I’ve almost always eaten it hot right out of the oven, though traditionally it’s served room temperature or chilled.

Speaking of tradish, if you want to not pit your cherries, that’s actually the traditional way to make a cherry clafoutis. I’ve done it both ways, apparently leaving the pits in is supposed to impart a subtle almond flavour, but I’ve never noticed a difference and prefer to pit my cherries even though it’s a little more prep. Totally up to you!

Serves: 4 for breakfast, 8 for dessert

Time: prep/preheat 10 min(400F), bake 25-35 min depending on baking dish used.

You will need:

  • generous 2 cups of cherries, pitted or not as you wish 🙂
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp melted butter, cooled slightly, plus more to butter dish
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp spiced rum or amaretto

Preheat oven to 400F. Butter a 9-10 inch glass pie plate, or stoneware pie plate (what I used in the pictures) or a cast iron skillet. Baking time will depend on what dish you use- and whether it’s nine or ten inches. I find using a glass pie plate only takes 25 min, while using my stoneware pie plate takes 35 min.

Pit your cherries if you wish, and put them in the buttered dish.

Melt butter in microwave and set aside. For the rest of the instructions you can either whisk by hand or use a mixer, I do either depending on how I’m feeling that day :). Whisk 3 eggs and 1/2 cup sugar until thoroughly combined. Then gradually add the butter, whisking until it’s incorporated. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined. Finally, add the tbsp of spiced rum. The batter should be very smooth.

Pour the batter over the cherries and pop into the oven. Check at 25 min. Give the pan a little jiggle, if your clafoutis wobbles give it some more time. When it’s finished it should be slightly browned and almost set in the middle. By almost set, I mean when you give the pan a shake there should only be a little wobble in the very middle. If you find it’s browning too much on top, throw a piece of tinfoil lightly over the top until it’s finished.

Serve room temperature or chilled, or hot out of the oven if you just can’t wait 🙂

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Pasta with Shrimp (or without!) in Tomato White Wine Sauce

By Corinne

If you live in Thunder Bay and haven’t tried Big Lake Pasta you should track some down at your earliest convenience. This pasta dish could probably be made with any pasta, but the Saffron Campanelle really did give it an extra something special.

Speaking of special, you may have noticed a real lack of fish and seafood posts from me on this blog. That’s because when I make them, it’s only as something special for my husband or company that I really love as I have a fairly severe allergy to them. Full disclosure, I was told that the shrimp were really good, but I didn’t (and can’t) actually taste them myself. I have the feeling that three of these large prawns would have been a fine serving, but since it’s a special treat, hubby got all six. Obviously this isn’t vegetarian if you use shrimp, but I ate it without and didn’t feel like I was missing anything.

Serves: 4 (though you would need more shrimp for 4 people, there is enough pasta and sauce for 4)

Time: about 1 hour including simmering time for sauce

You will need:

  • 1 medium/large onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
  • 2 tbsp olive or canola oil
  • 1 dried chili pepper or about 1/2-1tsp of chili flakes
  • 2 cups of white wine (preferably dry, preferably Chardonnay)
  • 1 can of San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a few tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped for garnish
  • wedges of fresh lemon
  • 350g fresh pasta, preferably Big Lake Saffron Campanelle

For the shrimps – I used tiger prawns and serving size will depend on the size of your shrimp!

I used this amount of butter/spice mixture for 6 large tiger prawns (probably 2 servings)

  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 large clove of garlic minced or pressed
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp minced flat leaf parsley

In a large pot over medium heat, add about 2 tbsp olive or canola oil. Add the onion to this and stir around for about 10 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and chili pepper and stir for about 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add 2 cups of white wine, slowly at first to scrape up any browned bits from the pan. Then add the can of tomatoes and paprika. Allow to simmer for about 45min to 1hr. Taste after simmering for a while, and add salt and pepper to taste.

While sauce is simmering, prep the butter mixture for the shrimp. Rinse and clean shrimp if necessary and slide onto bamboo skewers. Baste with butter sauce before putting on BBQ, and if you have enough, one more time when you flip them over.

The shrimp will take less than 10 minutes on the bbq, so when you are ready to put your pasta in the boiling water that would be the time to put them on.

Serve with a sprinkle of fresh chopped herbs (parsley or basil) and squeeze a wedge of lemon over just before serving.

 

 

Easiest Scalloped Potatoes

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By Corinne

I love scalloped potatoes, but sort of hate making white sauce for them. While this recipe uses heavy cream, making white sauce uses copious amounts of butter, flour and milk or cream, so I feel like it more or less evens out in terms of fat/calories and being easy and even more delicious means doing it this way wins for me.

These are seriously so easy that there’s no need to save them for a special occasion 🙂 Plus, the sauce thickens to creamy deliciousness without adding flour, so they happen to be happily gluten free.

Cooking time will depend a bit on whether you are using a deeper square shaped 2 quart dish or a shallower rectangular shaped dish. 
You will need:

  • 4-5 medium/large potatoes
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • paprika
  • fresh ground pepper
  • about 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup (250mL) heavy cream
  • about 1/2 tbsp butter

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Rub butter on a 2 quart baking dish. Finely mince about half of a large red onion, about 1/2 a cup and set aside. Grate about 2 cups of shredded cheese and set aside. Use a mandolin to slice potatoes very thin. I usually leave the skin on as because I hate peeling potatoes and like the skin anyway. This is pretty much the only reason I have a mandolin, and it’s TOTALLY worth it, even though I don’t do scalloped potatoes very often.

Layer two layers of potatoes into dish. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper, paprika, about 2 tbsp of minced red onion and a light sprinkle of shredded cheese. Continue layering potatoes, stopping every 2 layers to repeat onion, pepper and paprika. On the final layer, top generously with shredded cheddar cheese.

Drizzle 1 cup of heavy cream over potatoes, cover dish with foil, and bake in a 350F oven until potatoes are tender, 60-80 minutes depending on the size of your dish and the thickness of your potatoes. Broil to finish for a few minutes if a more crispy bubbly top is desired.

Simplest Tomato Sauce

By Corinne

I had read about this tomato sauce with butter and onion over at Smitten Kitchen  some time ago, but two things stopped me from making it despite her rave reviews. Firstly, it seemed well… too simple. Secondly, it called for San Marzano tomatoes – which are difficult to find here (I’ve only regularly seen them at Maltese) and expensive. The ones I picked up weren’t even the most pricy brand, and they were still $5.49 for the can!

I had two questions I hoped to answer. Firstly, was this sauce really worth raving about? (spoiler alert- yes) and secondly, are these San Marzano tomatoes really worth the $5.49?

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Upon opening the cans, the San Marzano’s are noticeably brighter and the juice from the can is much thicker.

After 35 minutes

After 45 minutes

You can see the onion is more broken down in the regular plum tomato sauce, perhaps because it’s more watery?

Upon tasting.

If you taste the Primo sauce FIRST you are like, hmmm, this sauce is pretty good considering what’s in it!

And then when you taste the sauce with the San Marzano’s you have silky, bright, simple tomato sauce perfection! It was the clear winner, even in a blind taste test for my husband- who isn’t known for his ability to distinguish subtleties in flavours.

I wouldn’t make this sauce all the time, I think it really shines when you want your pasta to be the star of the show, it’s perfect with garlic scape gnocchi or homemade ravioli. While I’m sure it would be good with a clove of garlic or a glug of red wine thrown in there, the beauty of this sauce really is the simplicity.

Time: 45 min

Serves: 3-4

You will need:

  • 1 can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • possibly a pinch of salt if your finished sauce needs it- mine didn’t

Add tomatoes to pot, halve the onion and put it cut side down into the tomatoes. Add the 5 tbsp of unsalted butter. Let simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pan with your spoon. When finished, remove and discard onion halves.

Use with your favourite pasta.

* note – you might think with 5 tbsp of butter that this sauce might end up greasy, but it’s smooth and rich and doesn’t have a greasy texture at all.