Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pumpkin Clafoutis

A less fussy version of Claudia Fleming's Pumpkin Clafouti (sic) recipe from The Last Course: Desserts from the Gramercy Tavern. I also use almonds instead of hazelnuts.

In case you're not familar with clafoutis, it is a traditional French dish often made with cherries. I think of it as a cross between a Dutch baby and flan but with fruit in it. Yum!

INGREDIENTS
1 large baking pumpkin or squash (or 2/3 cup drained canned pumpkin)
5 large eggs
3/4 cup +2 TBSP sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 inch piece vanilla bean (use pulp only)
pinch salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup chopped toasted almonds

DIRECTIONS
1. If using a baking pumpkin (such as sugar pie) or other whole squash, you will roast the pumpkin first. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Halve the squash and scrape out the seeds. Bake on a baking tray for 1.5 hours (less time if using smaller squash--she is using a 4-5 lb one).

2. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh into a food processor, discarding the skin. Process until smooth. Then place the squash in a sieve lined with cheesecloth over a bowl and let drain in the fridge for a few hours. (You may or may not find a lot of liquid drains out). After it has drained, take 2/3 cup of the mixture and use the rest for another purpose such as squash muffins or soup.

3. If using canned pumpkin, you may not need to drain. The organic kind usually does need draining for an hour (in a sieve lined with cheesecloth over a bowl). Proceed with the rest of the recipe as usual.

4. Place the eggs, 3/4 cup of sugar, milk, cream, vanilla extract & pulp, and salt in a blender, food processor or mixer. Blend until very smooth (30 seconds or so). Add squash puree and blend well. Add flour and pulse until well integrated.

5. Preheat oven to 425. Brush a 9 inch pie plate (we use pyrex) with the melted butter. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 TBSP sugar. Sprinkle in the nuts. Pour batter over the nuts.

6. Bake clafoutis for 15 minutes, then lower the oven heat to 375 and bake for aonther 12 minutes or until the center is just set.

Claudia Fleming says to serve immediately, but we like this clafoutis almost better cold--the flan-y texture really comes through then.

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