Monday, January 14, 2013

cheery and almond clafoutis with lemony coconut whipped cream

I'm a little excited to say that my first post for the New Year comes from my darling friend Emily Lucas. This wonder woman writes a fantastic foodie-blog called Super Foodie Adventure and I'm a huge fan of what she rustles up in the kitchen! 

Last week I made the move from Dunedin to Auckland and prior to the big drive north I was ridiculously busy getting ready to go. During my last Dunedin-date with Emily (for a while anyway), we chatted about all of the usuals - friends, family, christmas, our New Year plans and of course... Food! We'd thought about collaborating together with some food-magic for a while, and decided we'd start with some shared posts. The timing couldn't be better for me, as I must admit, I've been a tad frantic with this whole moving business and leaving little time for my blog. 

So Emily dearest, thank you very much for sharing this delicious recipe with me and everyone who visits this space. I'm so happy to share your work and I'm especially grateful that we could do it now while I wade through suitcases, house hunt and settle into this new city!


Emily's Cherry & Almond Clafoutis with Lemony Coconut Whipped Cream 

To me, there is nothing more quintessentially French than clafoutis. The wunderkind of French desserts, clafoutis (kla-foo-tee) lies somewhere between a frangapine tart and a baked custard. Clafoutis hails from the Limousin region of France and is traditionally baked with the pits of the cherries still in tact, in order to ‘saveur le flavour’. To protect your precious pearly whites, my recipe requires the pits to be laboriously removed. This initial slaving over the stove is short-lived, as the simplicity of this dessert is its saving grace. A spread, a splash, a whisk, a sprinkle and viola! Pop it in the oven and await the sweet cherry almond scent to permeate the house.
Cherries are aplenty right now. The cream of the crop are grown in Central Otago, just a few hours away from where we live in Dunedin (New Zealand). These cherries are renowned for being the sweetest, juiciest, shiniest you’ve ever had the pleasure of laying your mitts on. Cherries are however not just a pretty face – they are one of Mother Earth’s most powerful anti-inflammatory sources due to the presence of anthocyanins, which research has unveiled prevents free radical damage and improves memory. Cherries also contain melatonin, a hormone which assists in regulating sleep cycles.
I’ve made this dessert with almond milk which works superbly, but clafoutis also works well with other milks especially cow’s milk. I’ve adapted the recipe from the Australian Taste website and given their clafoutis recipe a Super Foodie makeover, ensuring the recipe is dairy-free (if you prefer), gluten-free and using a minimally refined sugar. I’ve used coconut palm sugar, but you can use any sugar you like, as long as it’s not the over-processed, bleached and filtered white variety. Coconut palm sugar is made from coconut tree nectar and has a naturally low glycemic index compared to other sugars. It also has a higher nutrient content and is a source of potassium, zinc, iron and magnesium. When choosing coconut palm sugar, ensure it is the purest you can find in the organic section, as some brands can be mixed with cane sugar.
This photo was taken by my delightfully Hilarious Sidekick Rachael Lawrence Lodge, who provided the creative direction for the shoot. Before we demolished the clafoutis, naturally. Dankeschön, Liebling!
Coconut oil for greasing the dish
500 grams of fresh cherries, pitted
2/3 of a cup of ground almonds
1/2 a cup of coconut palm sugar or coconut sugar
A tablespoon of honey
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups of almond milk (or cows milk if you prefer)
A vanilla pod, deseeded or a teaspoon of vanilla essence or paste
The zest of a lemon
A can of refrigerated coconut cream
A vanilla pod, deseeded or a teaspoon of vanilla essence or paste
The zest of a lemon
A teaspoon of honey
1/3 of a cup of sliced almonds
A sprinkling of fruit, a sprig of fresh mint or lemon zest for garnishing
Heat the oven to 180 degrees. In a frying pan, toast the almonds until golden brown and allow to cool. Grease a large dish with coconut oil. Pit the cherries and place evenly in the greased dish. In a bowl, mix the ground almonds and sugar together and form a well.
In a jug, whisk the eggs and add the almond milk, vanilla and the zest of one of the lemons. Gently pour the liquid into the sugar and almond well and combine. Pour into the dish and sprinkle with toasted almond flakes.
Cook for 30 minutes or until the middle is springy. Allow to cool until slightly warm.
Separate the creamiest part of the coconut cream by gently spooning it out of the refrigerated can (use the  surplus liquid for smoothies or Banana, Date and Coconut Baked Porridge).
Add the vanilla, zest of the second lemon and honey and whisk to form peaks. Transfer into a serving bowl and refrigerate. Garnish with whatever you please and serve with the warm clafoutis. Bon Appetit!

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