Plum Clafoutis with balsamic, cocoa & thyme
A simple, delicious way to celebrate seasonal flavors, a clafoutis is a classic French dessert that marries creamy custard and succulent stone fruits with panache. Add dark chocolate, and it’s over the moon decadent.
It all started with friends coming over for a socially distant drink in our bower on a beautiful late summer evening. We hadn’t seen our friends since the shutdown began, so we were excited to share a glass of wine and some chocolates and get caught up.
Being avid gardeners and incredible cooks, they didn’t come empty handed. Bright plums from their tree and a gorgeous plum clafoutis were just perfect with a glass of Spanish garnacha, good company and conversation, and leaves showing just the slightest tinges of fall blushing.
Later that week the wheels were turning as to what I could make with the luscious little gems they’d left us. I made a batch of plum and basil ganache for truffles, and loved the combination of creamy, fruity and herbal flavors so much that I starting dreaming of a rich, cocoa-y, clafoutis. Dappled with plums and some of the bright lemon thyme from our garden, it hits all of the right spots: custardy and creamy, fresh and fruity, herbal and piquant, the balsamic bumping up the flavor of the plums.
And it’s so easy to make! Here’s the recipe I cobbled together, a quick and lovely dessert, snack or elegant breakfast that really showcases late summer and early fall stone fruits.
- 1/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp good fruity Modena balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6-8 ripe plums, halved and pitted
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed and stems discarded I used lemon thyme
Preheat oven to 400ºF and butter an 8″ tart or pie tin, or use a well-seasoned 8″ cast iron skillet.
Make the custard: Combine the melted butter, milk, eggs, balsamic, flour, cocoa powder and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the thyme leaves and pulse until just blended.
Pour the custard into the buttered tart/pie tin or cast iron skillet and arrange the plums on top (they will sink and look like gleaming little islands in the batter). Bake for about 30 minutes until firm to touch on top.
The clafoutis will puff up and look like a dramatic soufflé for about a minute, and then collapse while it cools.
Serve as is or with a dusting of cocoa, powdered sugar or a dollop of heavy cream whipped with 1 Tbsp brandy.