For the following two weeks, while I am in France, I am going to try a new pastry. Every. Single. Day.
In case you haven’t memorized your multiplication tables yet (don’t worry, I haven’t either), that’s fourteen pastries. Is that a lot? Honestly, I would be eating that many pastries—or more—anyway, so I might as well get something out of it besides an empty wallet and a gourmet French dessert baby kicking at my stomach.
So what is culturally significant about fourteen variations of dark, rich, chocolate, flaky dough, and vanilla beans? I plan on finding out, one bite at a time.
Read the entire series here.
I agonized that this day would never come. But here it is, ladies, gentleman, otherwise. Mark it in your calendars. September 13th. The day Girl Unaffiliated finally finished writing about the pastries she ate every day (and definitely more than once a day) en France. Don’t get your hopes up. I did not plan this well and pastry number fourteen is no more exciting than the previous thirteen. Well, depending on how much you like clafoutis.
Have you ever heard of the French region Limousin? No? That’s honestly unsurprising. It’s one of the least populated areas of France, known mostly for a massacre that happened in its principal city Limoges during the Hundred Years War. Apparently three thousand civilians were slain due to the atrocity orchestrated by the “Black Prince,” or Edward of Woodstock (Woodstock because he was born at Woodstock Palace in Oxfordshire, not because he was also a hippie in the 60s).
So that sucks. But one thing that totally doesn’t suck about Limousin is it’s delicious clafoutis (in case you were wondering, you don’t pronounce the “s” – it’s more like claw-foot-ee). The word comes from the Occitan word clafir, meaning “to fill.” Occitan is a local dialect of Limousin, as well as some parts of Italy and Spain.
Clafoutis is essentially a batter poured over cherries in a buttered baking dish and baked, then dusted with sugar and served warm. Traditionalists don’t unpit the cherries, which just sounds like a chore to me, but who knows, maybe it adds incredible flavor.
Of course, like most famous French desserts, its origin is uncertain. We do know one thing: if you make a clafoutis with anything but cherries, like pears, plums, blueberries, mangos, blackberries, or apples, it’s not called a clafoutis anymore, but a flaugnarde. There was also a bit of a conflict between the people of Limousin and L’Académie francaise when the latter, the council for all matters regarding French language, referred to the clafoutis as a “fruit flan.” People freaked out. And really, for good reason. This thing is not a flan. That was just poor judgment.
I’m not typically a fruit-in-desserts kind of gal (except for, of course, apples, which barely count as a fruit when paired with dessert ingredients) but this is just delectable. The cherries are so soft and baked down they just melt into the delicious butter-y, pudding-y batter. Compared to most of my other Daily Pastry posts, this one is a little bit harder to find, but it is truly a treat.
And with that, I say goodbye to my French desserts, and to my good cholesterol.
Student. Writer. Everything-o-phile.