Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Franco-Dixie fusion cuisine?

I had an article due this morning, so I made this clafoutis to reward myself for finishing the final edit. A clafoutis is ideal for a situation where you have to intersperse baking with other work, because so much of the process is waiting--an hour for the fruit to sit in the brandy and sugar, an hour for it to bake. There's very little real activity involved.

I hope you make this. I can't begin to describe the haunting flavor of the brandy-soaked peaches in the eggy custard. One caveat: Be sure to drain the peaches well after they macerate, or the consistency will be too wet.


3 c. small peaches, quartered, stones removed
1/4 c. cognac
2/3 c. sugar, divided into two 1/3-cup portions
part-skim or whole milk as needed (see instructions)
3 large eggs
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
powdered sugar for dusting

In a wide, flat bowl, soak the peaches in the cognac and 1/3 c. of the sugar for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.
At the end of the hour, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a deep 9- or 10-inch pie plate.
Set a colander or sieve over a bowl and drain the peaches, pressing lightly to get the liquid out. Pour the liquid into a large measuring cup and top it off with milk until you have 1 1/4 c. of liquid.
Add to a blender, in this order: the aforementioned liquid, the remaining 1/3 c. sugar, the eggs, the vanilla, the salt, and the flour. Blend at high speed for 1 minute.
Pour a thin layer of batter into the bottom of the pie plate and set it in the oven for just a couple of minutes until it sets. Remove from the oven and arrange the peaches cut-side-down in the plate. Pour the remaining batter on top. Bake for about 1 hour, until the top is puffed and golden and the edges are browned and pulling away from the sides.
Dust with powdered sugar. The custard will sink as it cools. Serve warm.