Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Plum and Almond Clafoutis- vegan, gluten free

Plum and almond clafoutis to celebrate Autumn's bounty!
Our damson tree

This is the perfect time of year to be using fresh plums; just as the early Autumn sun ripens them on the trees. Last weekend's sunshine felt like it had been borrowed from Summer, then filtered through the golden leaves to give a beautiful soft light all its own: despite the shorter days and chilly evenings this time of year can be glorious, and these sunny Autumn days hold precious last glimpses of favourite flowers and fruits. There is nothing quite like the sight of a plum tree proudly laden with purple, red or yellow fruits which hang there  glistening like great big jewels amongst the yellowing leaves- I just had to pay tribute to this with a dessert!
I chose clafoutis (pronounced "cla-foo-tee") to showcase some lovely English red plums I found in a local greengrocer's. This dessert comes from the Limousin region of central France, where it is traditionally made with black cherries. The word "clafoutis" comes from the old Occitan verb "clafir" meaning to fill, so I suppose the name means a fruit-filled batter.  The French batter is of course made with wheat flour and eggs so I have swapped these for chickpea flour (aka gram or baisen) and added almonds for extra richness making it vegan and gluten free, so everyone can tuck in...
Please note that I have only made this the one time, and we were really happy with the result, which is why I went ahead and posted it. However, next time I will make a couple of small changes which you might want to take into consideration: I will add more fruit and make the recipe to serve 8-10 rather than 6-8, or I will reduce the amount of batter proportionally so that the ratio of fruit to batter is more balanced. (Although my husband kindly pronounced it perfect, I thought it would be better with a little more fruit, as the batter rose more than I anticipated and covered up the fruit somewhat- or am I just being picky?!.)

6 plums, stoned and halved (any will do, but red or purple make the best colour contrast with the batter)
crushed/
demerara sugar for sprinkling
flaked or crushed almonds for sprinkling
Batter:
300g gram flour
100g ground almonds
400ml rice milk (I find this lighter in baking than soya milk)
200g demerara sugar
4tsps baking powder

  • Wash and prepare the plums. Set aside.
  • Make the batter with a balloon whisk, rice milk last.
  • Pour into an ovenproof dish then arrange the plum halves.
  • Sprinkle with flaked or crushed almonds.
  • Bake for about 25 mins in a preheated oven set to 180C. After the first 15 minutes, cover with foil (pierced in the centre to allow steam to escape) to prevent the top from overbrowning while the inside is cooking through. Test with a skewer to ensure the inside is done; it should only be slightly moist where the fruit is.
  • Sprinkle with a little demerara sugar just before serving.

Serve it warm. It doesn't actually need anything else with it. It should be slightly crispy on the outside and soft, almost cake-like inside with creamier pockets of moist fruit. You could also try this with blackberries.
For 3 more plum recipes, click here .

1 comment:

  1. I am bookmarking this to make, but you may have to forgive me in advance as I may sub. the plums with another seasonal fruit. And I only have soy milk in my home too.

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