November 12th, 2014

Pear-Almond Clafoutis (with almond milk) and an invitation

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We’ve all passed that bin or cart at the grocery store filled with discontinued or out-of-season products. I’ll stop and cast a cursory glance over the array, before moving on. Typically a bust, the cart brims with items that I would never use: cans of cartoon-shaped Spaghetti-O’s, infant formula, or leftover bags of Halloween candy.

But this time, I was surprised to find real treasure, a baker’s bonanza: blocks of white and dark chocolate, bags of semi-sweet chips, brown sugar, and cartons of almond milk. I didn’t need any of them, but at half-price, I’d snap up the bargains–certain that I would use the sugar and chocolate during the holidays.

The almond milk was another matter. I’d never tasted it, nor cooked with it, but at half-off, it was a good opportunity to experiment with it. I bought one quart, stashed it in my pantry, and would wait for the right inspiration.

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With pear season upon us, I didn’t wait long.

Baked into cakes and tarts, pears and almonds make happy companions, but that wouldn’t put the almond milk to much use. A clafoutis, that curious French confection that relies on a blend of eggs, milk, sugar and flour for its thin batter, could be an ideal candidate.

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A rustic fruit dessert originally made with cherries, it affords some variables that you can play on. Pears? Of course. Sliced thinly, firm but ripe Red Anjous and Barletts would be delicious baked into the clafoutis.

How about using brown sugar instead of white granulated? Yes.

I did a little research and found that almond milk and cow’s milk could be interchangeable; the same holds true with almond flour and all-purpose. So, those of you desiring to be dairy and/or gluten-free, this dessert is for you.

The rest of us are going to be mighty pleased with it as well.

Wanting to accentuate the almond theme, I coarsely ground a cup of whole almonds to cover the bottom and sides of my buttered baking dish. I thought that they might add a crunchy crustlike element to the clafoutis.

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I also grated some fresh nutmeg over the surface. Be sure to take in the aromatics before you stir it into the foamy mixture.

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The clafoutis is ready for the oven. I really packed it with pears, tucking in a few unpeeled Red Anjou slices around the top.

It baked beautifully, with a smooth custard, soft, luscious pears, and nice almond crunch. I don’t think you’d know what sort of milk went into its baking.

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I’m in agreement with Molly of Orangette : Fresh out of the oven, it is fragrant and delicious. But, tomorrow it will taste even better. Overnight in the fridge, the flavors will settle in, and a chilled slice with cup of coffee sounds like a fine way to start a fall morning.

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PEAR ALMOND CLAFOUTIS
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 cup ground almonds
2-3 firm but ripe pears
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup almond flour (or all-purpose, if you like)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (you may use whole milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat a baking dish, bottom and sides, with butter. Sprinkle the ground almonds evenly to cover, reserving a couple of tablespoons, and set aside.

Peel, halve lengthwise, and core the pears. Cutting across the body of the pear, slice into thin pieces.

Using an electric beater (or immersion blender or food processor,) blend the brown sugar and eggs together. Then, add the flour, beating until smooth, followed by the almond milk, followed by the vanilla. The mixture will be frothy.

Grate the nutmeg over the mixture and stir. Ladle it into the baking dish to cover the bottom.
Arrange the sliced pears on top. Pour the remaining mixture over the pears. Sprinkle the rest of the ground almonds around the perimeter of the dish.

Place onto the middle rack and bake for 65-70 minutes–until the top becomes golden brown and custardy batter is set. Allow to cool on a rack.

Makes 8-10 servings

Want to make your own almond milk? Cooking Light offers an easy-peasy recipe right here.

INVITATION

To my Good Food Matters friends in the Washington DC area!

book signing evite(2)

I will presenting my cookbook at Vigilante Coffee Roastery and Cafe on Sunday November 23rd. Check out the invite for details.

Of course, I’ll be serving some goodies of the season from the book, and barista-extraordinaire Chris Vigilante will be making some luscious coffees to pair with them.

I’m thrilled to be trekking out of Tennessee with Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbooks in tow, and would love it if you could come by.

Posted in Desserts, Egg/Cheese Dishes, Fruit, Gluten Free, Recipes

25 Responses to “Pear-Almond Clafoutis (with almond milk) and an invitation”
  1. mark Says:

    Nancy, enjoyed the story and the inspiration. I am a big fan of almond milk and you know I will try this recipe.

  2. Johanne Lamarche Says:

    I substitute almond milk in all kinds of recipes Nancy as we have several lactose sensitive family members and it substitutes perfectly albeit more like skim milk. I recently substituted it for evaporated milk in a pumpkin custard. No difference! Being French, clafoutis is one of those dishes that should be in my repertoire but I am not a huge fan. Often too eggy. This one really appeals to me. It has a rustic quality with the added almonds and fruit slices on the top. Your recipe might make a convert of me! Good luck in DC. Wish I could join you. I am often there as I have a son studying at Georgetown.

  3. Kath Says:

    This is interesting and timely as I was having a conversation with a friend who has had to go on a no-dairy diet about almond milk just last week and I have been looking out for it on my shopping trips but haven’t found it yet. I am keen to try it and see if I can use it on my muesli in the morning. I am not sure about using it in my cup of tea though. The clafoutis sounds delicious. Enjoy DC and I hope your book rushes out of the door, as it deserves to.

  4. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Mark-I think this one is perfect for you.

    Johanne–Thank you for the tip–it makes sense that almond milk would be a marvelous substitute for evaporated milk—I will use it in my pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving. I understand your negative feelings about the clafoutis—I have had some bad ones, some too eggy, some dense and rubbery. This one avoids those pitfalls!

    I wish you could come to the book event too. It would be nice to meet you in person.

  5. heather Says:

    This sounds perfect for Thanksgiving! Thank you Nancy!

  6. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Kath–I’m not sure about using it in my coffee either, but may try it soon! Thanks for the good wishes.

    Hi Heather–yes, because there’s no gluten or dairy (you sub the butter for oil) and low sugar, this dessert is ideal for the Ferguson household!

  7. fluffy Says:

    always about the cookbook
    i found the almond milk extremely wonderful
    may i have it for christmas

  8. Tracy Says:

    I love how rustic this looks. I could dig right in. Btw, you’ve inspired me to write a new post after a very long absence. Thank you!

  9. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Yay, Tracy. Can’t wait to read it.

  10. Joyti Says:

    Oh, this sounds heavenly! I’ve never baked with almond milk before either.

  11. Beth Says:

    Sigh. What a perfect fall dessert. Pears and almond work beautifully together, and I know I’d love to try this clafouti.

  12. Teresa, foodonfifth Says:

    I have been using only Almond Milk for quite a few years now. Not sure why exactly anymore but I love it. I use the unsweetened vanilla almond milk in everything and even with cereal and in my coffee. I have even made “ice cream” with the chocolate almond milk. So welcome Nance to world of Almond Milk.
    As to your DC book signing….congrats and enjoy the limelight. I will be thinking of you through the holiday week and wishing you well.
    Your clafoutis looks wonderful to me…pears I adore and I have rarely met a clafoutis that I did not love…your version is particularly wonderful.

  13. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Teresa, I’m a latecomer to the almond milk par-tay, and I am looking forward to trying it in many things!

  14. Barbara Says:

    I remember using almond mind in some sort of smoothie made years ago. It was pretty good, although I haven’t used it lately. Your clafoutis looks excellent Nancy! Quite a list of goodies to find at your market! So often I don’t see anything I want or use in that bin. But last week mine had a HUGE jar of pb and one free. Living in Florida, I always have pb in my pantry for hurricanes…couldn’t pass that one up!

  15. Michele| Cooking At Home Says:

    Perfect, Nancy.

  16. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Barbara–that was a great find!

    Hi Michele–Thank you!

  17. Kitchen Belleicious Says:

    i love using almond milk and never thought about using it in a clafoutis before. I can only imagine how amazing it makes it and nutty and sweet.

  18. Adri Says:

    What a beautiful dessert. I just adore pears. I have never tried almond milk – which is pretty weird, now that I think about it as I love to try new foods. I will have to give it ago, and you have provided the perfect vehicle. Mille grazie!

  19. Juliana Says:

    Nancy, somehow I have never used almond milk in cooking or baking…almond and pear is a great combo…
    Thanks for the recipe…have a great weekend :)

  20. Tammy Says:

    Great dessert. We have pears from the market and almond milk. This looks like a thanksgiving try!

  21. Lovely Says:

    Thank you for the recipe! I’m craving to do this! I’ll buy lots pears tomorrow!

  22. Izaak Says:

    Hi I found your post very much interesting with all those pics and instructions that are very precise. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I also have some info on almond milk and its benefits.
    http://www.body-in-balance.org/healthy-food/health-benefits-almond-milk/

  23. Marty Says:

    Zut alors, came upon your website too late to take you up on the invitation, and I had just popped down to Washington from NY for Thanksgiving with my sis, an extraordinary cook.
    Well, how did the signing go? This looks so delectable. I’m passing it on untested to my gluten- and dairy-avoidant daughter. Now I suppose I ought to order up that book of yours!

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