This is not the kind of figgy pudding the Cratchetts consume at their feast in A Christmas Carol. That pudding looked more like a flaming fruit cake – not my favorite. But clafoutis is a sort of pudding, so I couldn’t resist the title.
Clafoutis is a French dessert that has fruit embedded in a sort of baked custard. I often make it with cherries in the summer, but it seems clafoutis can be made with other fruits and berries. I love figs, so when I ran across this recipe on the Food and Wine website, I was intrigued. The recipe calls for black mission figs, but by the time I made it to the store, there were none to be found. Luckily, brown turkey figs were plentiful, and as it turned out, equally delicious. And since we are close to Thanksgiving, brown turkey figs seem quite appropriate. If you want to serve something different and delicious for your Thanksgiving dessert, this recipe will steal the show from all those boring old pumpkin pies. Best of all, you don’t have to make a pie crust! My mother could make the lightest, flakiest pie crust on the planet, but I’ve never been able to duplicate her results, so I avoid making it when possible. But I digress…..
Even folks who claim they don’t care for figs loved this dessert (ie. my husband). It’s topped with a port wine syrup and boozy whipped cream, which imparts a touch of elegance to this humble dish. The syrup and whipped cream can be omitted if you have non-imbibers at the table.
The recipe serves four to six, the perfect number for our small celebrations this year.
Make the Port syrup and whipped cream first:
½ cup of ruby or tawny port
2 tbsps. granulated sugar
1 piece of orange zest, a strip about 3 or 4 inches long
½ cup heavy whipping cream
In a saucepan, combine the port with the sugar and orange zest and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes or so. Pour the syrup into a heat proof bowl and let cool. Discard the orange zest and refrigerate until chilled.
In a medium bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Drizzle in 1 ½ tbsps. of the port syrup and continue to whip the cream until firm. Refrigerate the whipped cream and syrup separately.
1 cup ½ and ½
2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 tsps. Vanilla extract
½ tsp. finely grated orange zest
¼ cup plus 2 tbsps. all-purpose flour
Melted butter ( about one tablespoon, to grease your cooking pan)
¾ pound fresh figs, halved lengthwise
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a blender, combine the ½ and ½ with the ½ cup granulated sugar, the eggs, vanilla, orange zest and salt. Add the flour in three batches, pulsing the blender for 10 seconds between additions. Let the batter stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Prepare a 9 inch square or round baking dish (we aren’t picky) by coating it with melted butter and dusting in with the granulated sugar. Pulse the batter one more time and pour into the baking dish. Arrange the figs cut side up in the dish. Although the recipe calls for ¾ pounds of figs, I just used one fruit carton of figs as packaged at the grocery store.
Bake the clafoutis for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 20 more minutes.
Remove from the oven when nicely browned and firm. Dust generously with powdered sugar. Serve with a drizzle of port syrup and a dollop of whipped cream.
If you want to make this yummy dessert, make it soon, because fresh figs have a short season. With any luck, they should still be available when you do your Thanksgiving grocery shopping. I know that your guests, even if it’s just you and another person, will love this change from the same old-same old. You might start a new tradition.
Have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving Day.
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