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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tootie Clafluti

Today was a crazy day.  My crazy day actually started last night, around 1:40 a.m. when I woke up only to realize that the light was still on in Kate's room.  This is never a good thing.  I had been asleep for hours and she was still toiling away on her homework.

Why do schools give so much homework?  Why is 11th grade so awful?

But I digress.  I went in to see what was going on and Kate informed me that she would be wrapping things up shortly.  (Shortly, as it turned out, was another hour.)  So I went back to bed.  And there I was, wide awake, until 4:30 this morning.  I must have fallen asleep sometime around then because 4:30 was the last time I checked the clock.   I was definitely sleeping (soundly) at 5:45 a.m. when my alarm went off.

Oh, and did I mention that Ted slept straight through the night, snoring so loudly that our neighbors surely could hear him.  (One of my friends made a recording of her husband snoring and then left him a voice mail message with the audio.  What an inspired idea!)

Anyway, I managed to get Kate out of bed at around 6:50 this morning at which time she informed me that she was too tired to drive and could I drop her off at school and then take her to tennis.  Sure.

Normally this would not be a problem except that I was expecting dinner guests tonight and I had to make and serve dinner.  This called for a change of plans.

So, we went from a complicated menu to one more suited to a busy Tuesday night:  panko breaded salmon, warm French lentils, a celery salad, pear clafluti, and a cheese board.  Simple, delicious, and easy to prepare ahead of time.

I had never made a clafluti before but it looked easy enough.  And low and behold, it was.  A couple of ingredients into the mixer, some sliced pears into a baking dish, and just like magic, I had a dessert that looked like I had slaved for hours.  And it was good too.

Dinner was a big success.  I even had a second wind and managed not to yawn my way through the cheese.  Kate opted out of dinner with our guests in favor of dinner at her desk.  At least maybe she'll get to bed a little earlier tonight.

Recipe:  Pear Clafouti
(Barefoot in Paris, 2004)


1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons pear brandy (recommended: Poire William)
2 to 3 firm but ripe Bartlett pears
Confectioners' sugar


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter a 10 by 3 by 1 1⁄2-inch round baking dish and sprinkle the bottom and sides with 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar.

Beat the eggs and the 1⁄3 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the flour, cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt, and pear brandy. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel, quarter, core, and slice the pears. Arrange the slices in a single layer, slightly fanned out, in the baking dish. Pour the batter over the pears and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.

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