One of many first books that made me fall in love with France and French delicacies was Roger Vergé’s Entertaining in the French Style. Vergé was the chef and proprietor of Moulin de Mougins, his world-famous restaurant on the Côte d’Azur, close to Cannes. I by no means went, however used to web page by way of the e-book, admiring the relaxed, pleasant way of life that at all times appeared to revolve round a desk, laden with good meals and loads of native wine. It made me wish to go and be part of all of it. The truth is, there are two empty seats at that desk, and I’d like considered one of them.
Not like quite a lot of chef books, this isn’t “aspirational” cooking, that’s, photos and recipes of meals that you could possibly by no means hope to make. I just lately received a e-book by a much-admired chef and I wished to share a recipe. However there was just one recipe within the e-book that may very well be made in lower than a day, and every recipe had not less than one ingredient that I had no thought the place I might get it. Don’t get me improper. I preferred the e-book lots and his restaurant seems to be superb, however it didn’t make me wish to run to the kitchen. So I admired the e-book, and the meals, from afar.
There are such a lot of photos in Chef Vergé’s e-book that made me flash again to my previous, a long time in the past, once I was studying extra about French delicacies whereas cooking in Northern California, which shares an analogous local weather – and substances – with Provence. He had dubbed it “Delicacies of the Solar.” The much-loved chef recently passed away and I revisited the e-book, to relive what excited me about French delicacies, way-back-when.
For many who wish to see some Provençal pottery porn, you’ll be seduced by photos of colourful Provençal pottery, platters of greens and herbs in all places, and oval omelets surrounded by toasted garlic croutons. Tables are laden with bottles of each crimson and white wine in buckets of ice (because of the warmth in Provence), wine glasses are crammed with pastel-tinted rosé, and particular person frozen strawberry soufflés, reflecting the solar of the south of France within the e-book, took me again to a sure and time and place in French delicacies.
Printed in 1986, practically three a long time in the past, it’s definitely a doc of an period and a number of the photographs are delightfully dated. When he came around Chez Panisse once I was cooking there, it was good to search out out that he was as jovial and welcoming as his e-book, and his cooking. I keep in mind him coming to the kitchen and we discovered him instantly likable, together with his his silver hair, bushy mustache, and beaming smile. He was touring with one other French chef who was a bit – um, dour, and the distinction between the 2 made us much more engaged by him.
I had misplaced my copy of his e-book so rapidly scrambled to search out a used one, because it’s out-of-print. I imagine it was reissued, however I wished the unique as a result of I like “dated” cookbooks since they offer you a glimpse into one other time and period.
A lot of the desserts within the e-book are very accessible. I rustled up some huge, darkish cherries to make his clafoutis, which he says to not pit. I did pit them as a result of few prefer it once they hit a tough cherry pit with their enamel (besides, maybe, cash-strapped dentists). Though some say the cherry pits add a sure almond taste to desserts like clafoutis, with their arduous coating round them, I doubt a lot of the flavour of the noyau (kernel) passes by way of that powerful pit throughout baking.
After pitting my cherries, I blended some farm eggs, milk, almond flour, and some different substances right into a thick batter. I poured it over the contemporary cherries in a gratin dish, and baked the clafoutis throughout one of many hottest days of this summer season. My kitchen was an inferno, however I used to be anticipating being rewarded with an exquisite fruit dessert for that night.
Malheureusement, the recipe wasn’t what I used to be anticipating. As a substitute of juicy cherries embedded in an almond-rich custard, the clafoutis was very dense, much like a butter cake. I set it apart and the following day, I took a couple of extra spoonfuls to see if it had improved in a single day. It didn’t develop on me, and I ended up largely plucking out the cooked cherries and consuming these, leaving the crumbly almond custard behind.
However it’s arduous to remain mad at Chef Vergé together with his charming French accent and dashing beauty. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a Frenchman who can prepare dinner. Even when they locate writing up their recipes. (Be aware: The recipe within the e-book is totally different than the one offered right here. It had quite a lot of almond flour in it, along with common flour, and the proportions raised an eyebrow once I learn it however I wished to offer it a go anyhow.)
Nevertheless I figured you in all probability could be much less forgiving than I’m, so I made one other cherry clafoutis the following day to share with you, underneath the wire earlier than the tip of cherry season. And though I’m not a distinguished French chef, I preferred it very a lot. And now that I’ve received the clafoutis labored out, it’s time to work on that silver hair and dashing mustache.
For those who’ve not made clafoutis earlier than, you’ll be delighted to learn how straightforward it’s! The batter is predicated on a crêpe batter, so not like a conventional custard, it accommodates some flour, so the feel is considerably dense, and the thicker batter ensures that any juices that escape from the cherries are well-contained. You possibly can use a non-juicy fruit, akin to apricots or bushberries, akin to raspberries or blackberries, for this clafoutis. Different fruits, like nectarines, peaches, bitter cherries, and plums could exude an excessive amount of juice when baking. However it’s meant to be a country, informal dessert, so be happy to personalize it.
- 1 1/4 kilos (570g) candy cherries
- 3 giant eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (70g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup (100g) plus 3 tablespoons (45g) sugar
- 1 1/3 cup (330ml) complete or lowfat milk
- Softened butter, for making ready the baking dish
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Smear a 2-quart (2l) shallow baking dish liberally with butter.
Stem and pit the cherries. Lay them in a single layer within the baking dish.
In a normal blender, or utilizing an immersion blender and a bowl, combine the eggs, flour, vanilla and almond extracts, ½ cup sugar, and milk collectively till clean.
Pour the batter over the cherries and sprinkle the fruit and batter with the three tablespoons of sugar.
Bake the clafoutis till the custard is simply set; a knife poked within the middle ought to emerge comparatively clear. It’ll take about 45 minutes.
Storage: The Clafoutis could be made as much as at some point prematurely, and refrigerated in a single day.