Baking for Bastille Day
While I’m not the biggest Francophile, I spend a lot of time with someone who is. Bastille Day is the biggest French holiday of the year, commemorating the storming of the Bastille, a fortress-prison in Paris, by revolutionaries on July 14, 1789. It became a symbolic act of the French Revolution, so today, France celebrates with fireworks, parades, parties (and perhaps a guillotine … ?)
In honor of the holiday, and because I have the day off, I decided to bake a clafoutis. The custard-type dish hails from central France, where it is traditionally made with cherries. I found a very easy-looking recipe at Food & Wine, from Alix de Montille, a winemaker for Deux Montille and Domaine de Montille in Burgundy. Montille used raspberries to make her clafoutis, though apparently the term refers only to the cherry dessert (flaugnarde refers to similar dishes with other berries). But we’re not picky here.
At the supermarket, raspberries were $4 a pint while blackberries were 2 for $5. Being a low-paid intern, I grabbed the blackberries instead, and crossed my fingers the swap would work.
It did. The blackberries were a little tart and a little sweet, which contrasted nicely with the light custard. The lemon really shone in this very refreshing dessert — it’s a great sweet for summer! My aunt suggested that next time, a tad more sugar and a little bit of vanilla extract might be nice, so I’ll have to try that soon.
I used the opportunity to try out my new camera, which has mostly just been sitting there for weeks. A pictorial recipe below:
– 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
– 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
– a pinch of salt
– 3 large eggs
– 3 tablespoons butter, melted
– zest of one lemon
– 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon milk
1) Whisk the flour with the sugar and salt.
2) Add the eggs, butter and the lemon zest.
3) Whisk until the batter becomes smooth. Then add the milk.
4) Pour the batter into a buttered 9-inch gratin pan (I just used a shallow baking dish). Add the berries — in my case, blackberries that I sliced in half.
5) Bake at 350˚F for 30 minutes. When it’s ready, the custard will be set and golden on the edges. Let it cool, then top it with powdered sugar before serving.
It came out a little rustic-looking, but I suppose that’s fitting for French country-style food. Yum!