Thursday, December 27, 2007

Berries Berries Everywhere

Summer Berry Clafoutis

Ahh Christmas. I can't believe that it has just come and gone. And although many a swine and perhaps turkey are breathing a collective sigh of relief now that their juicy tender flesh are no longer being eyed off as delectable cuts of Christmas meat to be proudly set down on one's dinner table, I can't help but think how much quicker and quicker the Christmas season rolls by every year.

I know I've had my fair share of ham and turkey and of course the obligatory seafood bounty that is the cornerstone of every Aussie Christmas, but I cannot overlook one of the very reasons why I love Christmas down under, it's that Christmas is smack-bang in the midst of our summer. And although we are experiencing what I have affectionately coined as the summer that never was, the sun turned out for a gloriously sunny Christmas day.
Seeing the sun was quite heartening, seeing as that we are looking at the prospect of only 4 sunny days in December, according to the weather people and it appears that we have already had them all.

Berries Berries everywhere

With a typical all-Australian summer comes the sun and the flies, which can be cause for contempt for many Australians and a lot more non-Australians who just cannot handle the sticky weather and the flies that tend to stick. The flies are indeed everywhere, and annoyingly so, although the good weather has been somewhat remiss.

However, thunderstorms and absent sunshine aside, one thing that makes my heart beat that little bit faster is the prospect of summer berries. Of all the genus of fruit around, I think the berry is my most favourite. They come in so many varieties, so many colours and so many flavours, what's not to fall in love with? Berries in the summer, mean berries for Christmas and what doesn't scream festive more than the look of summer berries. Hues of deep blue, magenta and violet and bright tones of crimson, ruby red and green the palette is endless.

Berries galore

As much as I cannot go past the humble strawberry, probably the most popular of all berries there are so many others that are ripe for dessert, and a great way to showcase one of summer's bounties is in a berry clafoutis. A dessert that originated from France and was traditionally made with cherries, the modern clafoutis, I think can be made with just about any fruit you can bake. Although clafoutis purists adhere strictly to cherries, I think this dessert is versatile enough for a change.

You can pretty much include whatever berries you wish in this dessert's and if berries aren't your thing then stone fruits like peaches and apricots are a great substitute. Even though, strictly speaking, raspberries and blackberries aren't considered to be true berries in the botanical sense, there's no need for being exclusively botanic in your interpretation of a berry clafoutis. Feel free to throw in anything that ends with a the word berry. I'm sure the result will be just as fantastic.

Berry Clafoutis

The verdict? This recipe yields a smooth and light dessert that is perfect after Christmas when we have all had a little bit too much to eat and drink. Althought it's made up mostly of cream and eggs, the dessert is not at all rich and filling like a crème brûlée would be. And the tartness of the berries create a nice contrast to the sweetness of the custard.

Perfect with a glass of champagne if your feeling celebratory or just a simple glass of moscato (Tempus Two is my favourite) this dessert is an easy crowd pleaser and one you can pull out for any dinner party. So take advantage of the surplus of berries right now and perhaps make up for the lack of sunshine this summer.

Summer Berry Clafoutis
Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine Issue 36
Serves 6

Berry Clafoutis

4 eggs
1/3 cup caster sugar
300ml pure single or pouring cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup plain all-purpose flour
1 punnet blueberries
½ punnet blackberries or mulberries
1 punnet raspberries
½ punnet strawberries, halved and hulled
icing (confectioner's) sugar, for dusting

Preheat over to 160ºC.
Brush oven proof dish with butter.
In a medium bowl combine eggs, sugar, cream and vanilla extract and whisk until frothy.
Sift flour over egg mixture and whisk until smooth.
Pour batter into prepare oven proof dish and scatter berries evenly throughout the dish.
Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until the centre has just set and golden.
Remove from oven and dust with icing sugarto serve.


Dana said...

Looks dreamy. Hope you had a lovely holiday!

laura dot said...

This looks so delicious. How large a dish did you use?

Mallow said...

That looks sooo good! Here in Seattle, we were also cheated out of summer this year - the newspaper said that we got only 17 days of sunshine! But now that it is the dead of winter, I am severely coveting those berries!

marias23 said...

Jenjen, I agree with you about how berries are just totally awesome! Summer is my least favorite season actually, and the highlight of summer, in my opinion, are berries, berries and more berries! I'm so jealous of you right now... :)

Anonymous said...

Yum!!! This sounds wonderful! Unfortunately fresh and affordable berries aren't so plentiful in Canberra this summer. Do you think this recipe would still be yummy if I used frozen ones?

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

ahhh, I'm so envious of your abundance of berries!! I can't WAIT until it's summer here, so that I too can enjoy fresh berries again - winter is so gloom here, in terms of produce-availability!

Unknown said...

That looks really good. I might have to pull out some of those berries that I froze in the summer.

Rachael said...

That's so funny. I don't think I realized you were in Australia. I saw the post title / picture and thought to myself, how on earth did you get such glorious looking berries?! Happy holidays - this dish looks amazing... though it will have to wait at least 6 months out here in Connecticut

Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous looking dish! And with berries being so ripe and cheap at the moment, a great way to make the most of them :)

Anonymous said...

I want it.
Great job.

Chef Jeena said...

So indulgent yet so healthy with all the berries at the same time! Looks fabulous. :-)

Anonymous said...

berries are good at xmas i think. add color and w/ sugar thary are so sweet, ym looks goooot

Brilynn said...

Oh how I wish I had some berries right now instead of cold and blowy winter.

Mansi said...

that looks so inviting! I too made a mixed berry and white chocolate bread pudding recently...berries are the best boon ever!!:)

Anonymous said...

Everything on that plate looks amazing!I would love to try this, sounds very simple and nice:)

Kristen said...

Aha! I found your recipe through the Desserts magazine, and I currently have this in the oven right now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it comes out looking like yours! ;)