“It’s fun to get together and have something good to eat at least once a day. That’s what human life is all about — enjoying things.” ~ Julia Child
Something magical happens whenever I make a Julia Child recipe that doesn’t happen with Martha, Mario, Giada or anyone else.
I hear Joooolia’s voice — cheery, chirpy, hooting and emphatic, reading aloud all the ingredients, explaining what I should do every step of the way, reminding me, “Above all, have a good time!”
“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.”
Phew! I’m glad she said that, because I wasn’t planning to tackle her 15-page French Bread recipe any time soon. It’s summer, the living is easy, and Julia has just the thing for those of us clamoring for an easy sweet fix. Oui oui, clafoutis!
Cherry Clafoutis (spelled with a final “s” or not, both are correct), originated from the Limousin region of France, a traditional peasant food in the cherry season, and “about as simple a dessert to make as you can imagine: a pancake batter poured over fruit in a fireproof dish, then baked in the oven.”
Yes, it has my name written all over it. I love cherries! And I love saying, “clafoutis.” It’s so, well, French. ☺ When you’ve had your fill of cobblers and crisps (is it possible?), and want a little something different to take advantage of the bounty of seasonal fruits, clafoutis is the way to go. Julia’s recipe calls for fresh black cherries, but any sweet cherries, canned or frozen, will do. Just make sure they’re pitted and drained (or thawed). If cherries aren’t your thing, use blueberries, apples, pears, or blackberries (a flan made with these other fruits would technically be called a flaugnard).
Anyway you slice it, it’s truly delish! Serve it warm, dusted with a little confectioner’s sugar, maybe with a side of vanilla ice cream. That’s the thing with Mastering the Art of French Cooking — different recipes for different skill levels. Invest a little time or a lot. You decide. The whole point is not to be intimidated by FRENCH CUISINE.
While making this clafouti, I stood a little taller as I channeled Julia, reveling in the whir of the blender and the heady scent of vanilla (an entire tablespoon!), marveling at the perfect roundness of those flirty globes of sweetness. From a simple recipe there is joy in process, a connection to a mentor, a resplendent feast for the senses.
CLAFOUTI (Cherry Flan)
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
3 cups cherries, pitted
1/3 cup sugar
To top off this lighthearted post, wanted to share several of my favorite Julia TV moments. She was a natural-born ham and lifelong prankster, who participated in many amateur theatre productions while in school. She even wrote a play once to give herself a lead role. Not exactly the shy sort. She was made for television — totally unflappable, a great improviser with terrific comedic timing. No one can tickle a lobster or pound a mallet like Julia. With her giant fright knife, such a cut-up!
“I think every woman should have a blowtorch.”
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“I always give my bird a generous butter massage before I put it in the oven. Why? Because I think the chicken likes it, and, more important — I like to give it.”
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“Drama is very important in life. You have to come on with a bang. You never want to go out with a whimper.”
And I love the way she tossed her Spaghetti Marco Polo with Mister Rogers. Don’t you miss her?
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“In spite of food fads, fitness programs, and health concerns, we must never lose sight of a beautifully conceived meal.” ~ Julia Child
♥ Tomorrow: Paul Child’s birthday sonnets
Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.