Sometime in February I usually start thinking about the fruit I put into my freezer last summer, and how I’d better start using it because fresh fruit will start appearing in the markets in just four months.
February is just long enough from last summer, of course, that the fruit tastes extra good. I was still picking huckleberries in October; December feels a little too early to enjoy them properly. February, a month of chicken soup and hearty stews and winter greens, feels just right.
Last year, I bought a chest freezer used on craigslist, and it’s been really handy. I can stock up on meat when it’s inexpensive, put large bags of rice into it to hide them from kitchen moths, and freeze summer fruit at its ripest and cheapest. When half flats of local raspberries and blueberries went on sale for $5-$7, when farmers were trying to get rid of over-ripe peaches, and when I went huckleberry picking, I saved the fruits for February.
Happily, I discovered I had quite a bit more huckleberries than I’d remembered in my freezer. I’ve been most fond of baking tarts with hazelnut meal crust (I’ll post the recipe at some point) but I wanted something simple, fast, and fairly healthful (e.g. no sugar, very little honey, very little grains with lots of good eggs and cream).
Clafoutis is a French dessert, a baked cross between custard and cake which is packed very densely with fruit. Cherries are traditional (we have a bag in the freezer destined for clafoutis tomorrow), but huckleberries are my favorite fruit, and this clafoutis shows them off well. You can use pretty much any summer berry or stone fruit. If your freezer isn’t stocked, Madison Market has local berries and peaches in its freezer case, Sidhu Farms (Ballard farmers’ market) sells frozen raspberries and blueberries, and Foraged & Found sells frozen huckleberries (talk to them a week in advance at either farmers’ market).
This recipe uses an almond flour base, but you could do it with all rice flour or try other nut meals as well. My experience is that clafoutis is fairly forgiving.
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 2 Tablespoons rice flour (optional)
- 3 eggs
- 2-3 Tablespoons honey (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cream
- 3/4 cup milk
- zest of one lemon (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups huckleberries or other small or chopped fruit (frozen or fresh)*
*NB: If using larger fruits like raspberries or even regular-sized blueberries, use closer to two cups of fruit. Huckleberries are small so a cup of berries means more fruit/less air than a cup of something larger.
1. In blender, mixer or bowl with hand-mixer, combine all ingredients EXCEPT huckleberries until small bubbles appear. (This is one of my favorite things about making clafoutis; how many other baked goods allow you to throw all the batter ingredients in the blender, and don’t need to be mixed delicately?!)
2. Butter a pie dish and place two thirds of your huckleberries (1 cup) into the dish.
3. Pour the batter over those huckleberries.
4. Sprinkle the rest of the berries (1/2 cup) on top
5. Bake at 375F for 45 min – 1 hour, until top is golden-brown and a knife comes out clean.
Serve warm if possible. Delicious plain, or with whipped cream or coffee or vanilla ice cream.