Warm Plum Clafoutis with Crème Fraiche Sorbet
For the record, I personally do not love shooting any cold desserts of any sort. Especially those that melt almost immediately the moment they come in contact with our local tropical humidity. It will only create unnecessary fuss and unwanted stress to race against time to capture the said cold item in its peak form. I have no bitterness against ice creams, sorbets, granita or semifreddo. I just do not love shooting them. Now I feel better after ranting.
This is another of never-tasted-before dishes that Ned has attempted. The risk of doing something absolutely new was not knowing if we were on the right track. It was like doing a Great British Bake Off technical challenge, but with the full set of instructions. It’s tough to actually be critical of one’s bake without any fore knowledge or experience. We could only leave it to gut instinct and taste buds. Up till now, we aren’t really sure if the consistency of the clafoutis batter was right. (Why aren’t there any clafoutis sold in any restaurants in Singapore?)
Doing my research online, it describes a clafoutis as a classic French dessert that’s almost flan-like, and typically uses black cherries over other types of fruit. Even by comparing our clafoutis against those experimented by Guardian’s Fecility Cloake, we can’t tell if we did the dessert justice or not. For example, our attempt utilises ground almond, which causes the batter to have a less-smooth texture. We know what flans look like, and yet our clafoutis didn’t resemble anything like the said dessert.
Plunging into unknown territory, Ned managed to pull off an enchanting dish – golden brown cake-ish exterior, sliced plum fan out like petals with a brilliant shade of deep burgundy and glossy blood red plum compote. This reminds me of the apple pudding we made a year back: it is just so yummy that I could clean a few off at one go. Topped with homemade creme fraiche ice cream, it created the perfect balance of sweet and sour. The tanginess of the creme fraiche refreshes the palate and reduces the sugary level of the clafoutis. We paired it up with vanilla ice cream as well, but it only made the dessert overwhelmingly rich.
If this was beginner’s luck, we cannot wait to taste what a masterclass clafoutis will be like. Till then, our tummies are pretty satisfied with our own creations.
Warm Plum Clafoutis with Crème Fraiche Sorbet
By Stephen Crane
For the crème fraîchѐ sorbet
380g of sugar
1.2kg of crème fraîche
150ml of water
For the crème pâtissiѐre
6 egg yolks
75g of caster sugar
40g of flour
500ml of milk
1 vanilla pod
For the plum clafoutis
100g of soft butter
100g of icing sugar
100g of ground almonds
5g of potato flour
90g of crème patisserie, whisked
2 Italian plums, destoned and thinly sliced
2 knobs of butter, for greasing
For the plum compote and juice
100g of Italian plum, destoned and diced
20g of caster sugar
50g of whole blanched almonds
4 sprigs of fresh mint
Start with the sorbet by combining the sugar and 150ml of water into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil to dissolve the sugar, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Whisk the cooled syrup together with the crème fraîche and churn in an ice cream maker.
To make the crème pâtissiѐre, whisk the sugar and the egg yolks until it turns pale yellow, then add the flour.
Bring the milk and vanilla (seeds and pods) to the boil. Take off the heat and stir in the eggs, sugar and flour. Bring it back up to boil on a medium heat and cook for 1 minute after it has come to the boil.
Sieve and cover with cling film, so that the cling film touches the custard. Cool down 2 hours in the fridge, then whisk before use.
For the plum clafoutis, cream the butter and the icing sugar. Add the ground almonds and potato flour, then the egg and the crème pâtissiѐre. Mix well.
Line 6 ramekins with butter and greaseproof paper. Fill them up with mix (2/3 of the level) and add slices of Italian plum, shaping them like an all-rounded fan, and pushing them down into the mix slightly
Cook 170˚C for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, the clafoutis should be slightly golden on top. Set aside and allow to cool
Next make the compote. Combine the plums and sugar in a pan for 15 minutes on a medium heat, stirring occasionally until they start to break down and become very soft. Pour into a fine strainer and allow juice to strain from the compote
Put the almonds on to a baking tray and toast in the oven at 150ºC for 10 minutes until deep golden brown
To serve, place the clafoutis back in the oven to warm through for 3-4 minutes. Place in the middle of the plate and add some plum compote and sauce around. Finish with a scoop of the sorbet and a small sprig of mint.
You can do the creme fraiche sorbet a day ahead as it takes time to freeze.