My mother-in-law has never made Plum Clafoutis, which is amazing considering that she has spent more than half the year for the past forty years surrounded by plums of some kind. They are the main crop grown on my in-laws' farm--acre after acre of Italian Plums. This recipe is for her, since the growing season in Argentina is right around the corner. (Even though the plums picked right off the tree are so sweet and fresh, they need no recipe to be enjoyed!)
The next several months will be hard work, so I hope this recipe will give her something to look forward to! From now until March, my father-in-law Don Caro will tend to the farm as one tends a newborn: he'll wake up and leave for the farm before dawn, face sleepless nights in early spring when he has to built fires between the rows of trees to prevent freezing, and the more sleepless nights during December's hail season, where they pray that the hail doesn't decimate miles of crops and cause a state of emergency to be declared like last year. If everything goes well, by March the plums will be packed into wooden crates that say 'CARLOS CARO' on the side, or they'll placed on cane mats and dried in the blazing Mendoza sun. (Below, a bad photo of the plum trees in full ripeness.)
Clafoutis is an amazingly delicious and simple recipe that consists of a pancake or crepe-like batter poured over fresh fruit and baked. The fruit can be cherries, pears, peaches, berries, or in this case, plums. Plum Clafoutis enjoys a world-wide reputation, and besides, it's fun to say--klah-FOO-tee! As I was searching for a recipe for this, I found several blogs (in Spanish) from Argentina that featured Clafoutis. Albahaca y Canela (Basil and Cinnamon) had this one, along with a great blog roll to check out, Mar va a Cocinar (Mar is going to cook) also had one, and Ver y Cocinar (See and Cook) combines video and blogging.
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Clafoutis de Ciruelas
1 lb. black (Italian) plums, pitted and cut into fourths
2 tablespoons sherry (you could also use brandy)
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons extra
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
confectioner's sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the sherry in a bowl and dissolve one tablespoon of the granulated sugar into it. Place the pitted, quartered plums in the bowl and let mascerate for 15 minutes. Grease a 9-inch baking dish with butter. Sprinkle the bottom and sides with the second tablespoon of granulated sugar. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and the 1/3 cup of granulated sugar on medium high speed for about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the plums from the brandy/sugar mixture, and arrange them face up in the baking dish.
On low speed, add in the flour, cream, vanilla, salt, and the remaining brandy and sugar mixture. Beat until combined. Pour carefully over the plums, being careful not to turn any over if possible. Bake until the top is golden and brown, about 35-40 minures. Let cool slightly, then dust with confectioner's sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.