30g butter, for greasing the pan
120g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
100ml whole milk
150ml whipping cream
½ vanilla pod, seeds only, or ¼ tsp vanilla extract
20g plain flour
500g perfectly ripe pears, cut lengthways into eighths
Clafoutis with Pears
The lightest baked creamy custard with soft fruit. I make clafoutis with pears, apricots, plums or figs but very rarely, although faithful to its origins, with cherries – because I am lazy about pitting (stoning) small fruit. Make the clafoutis an hour before serving. It only takes 20 minutes to prepare and can be made with slightly unripe fruit, which softens during cooking. You can also make it ‘boozy’, soaking the fruit in a tablespoon of corresponding liqueur – Poire Williams for the pears, plum brandy for plums and so on.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/375°F/Gas 5. Butter the pan and then dust it with caster sugar. Put the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan and heat to boiling point then remove from the heat.
Put the eggs in a bowl with the sugar and whisk them together. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, then pour the milk mixture in slowly, whisking all the time.
Scatter the pears over the base of the pan – you can arrange them neatly in a circle if you wish. Pour the batter around them, not over the top, and then put the pan in the oven and bake for 20–25 minutes until the custard has puffed and coloured gold in places. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 hour. Dust with caster sugar and serve.