Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fig and Goat Cheese Clafoutis

This yummy tidbit comes from Traveler's Lunchbox. It's a recipe I've tried four or five times, and it's always a hit. Made it just yesterday (again) in honor of my mother, who's visiting from Texas, and who ate this for breakfast, dessert or a little snack whenever she felt like it! Don't let the goat cheese put you off, it's a light and fluffy chèvre you need for this, and it's not invasive in the dessert context at all.

Fig and Goat Cheese Clafoutis

Serves: 6
Notes: Equal parts custard, cheesecake and pancake, this clafoutis is not terribly traditional, but it is really good. Serve it in generous wedges, lukewarm or at room temperature, with something fresh and tangy as counterpoint.

5 oz (150g) mild goat cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (110g) sugar, plus extra for dipping figs
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup (180ml) heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (70g) flour
1 lb (500g) figs, any variety

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Put the goat cheese and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating each one before adding the next. Whisk in the honey and cream. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them too. Whisk in the flour just until no lumps remain. At this point the batter can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours (and indeed, some people say it improves with age).

Halve the figs lengthwise. Grease a shallow baking dish or cast-iron skillet (approx 10in/25cm diameter) with butter and pour in the batter. Pour some sugar into a shallow bowl and dip the figs, cut-side down, into the sugar. Arrange them, cut-side up, in the batter.

Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes (this will depend on how large your baking dish is). Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

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