Arkansas black clafoutis

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At the base of the lamp, a bright orange flyer lists the dates and times we should look for my son on a local TV station (he jumped at the chance to hail greetings into the camera from a downtown festival last month). In the same vicinity is a gift for a new big sister I know along with a pile of cookbooks from the library, a stack of back issues of local magazines, a parking ticket, and instructions on how to pay my library fine online. My great-grandparents’ snow globe, next to the pencil jar, is back from the specialty repair shop my husband sleuthed out after the Santa lifted up from the base and started floating in the aging liquid.

Among the usual clamor of items on my desk is the pomegranate my daughter brought in a few minutes ago, when she asked if we could please open it now. No, I said, knowing where most of the arils would end up if I broke into it when only two of us are home. She pouted and I can’t really blame her, faced with a fruit of such invention.

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Today at Kennedy Creek, the kids in my son’s class crowded along the fences, trying hard to obey the instructions not to lean on them or stand on the lower supports. Below we could see the salmon, migrating in splashy bursts, the females digging to create redds (depressions where each will deposit her eggs). The males spar to fertilize them. Of the three to four thousand eggs in each, only about four fish will reach the salt water.

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When we came upon a dead salmon, right there on the trail, there were no “Poor thing!”exclamations or kids turning away with queasy stomachs. They gathered so close, I had to hover over them, dodging to keep hooded heads out of the corners of my viewfinder. They observed the creature like good scientists, listening while the docent explained that a bear likely dragged it up from the creek – it would have been too heavy for a raccoon.

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Earlier today I chopped up some of the small apples I collected this week. From the market, tiny Lady apples and a thin-skinned golden saucing variety; from the co-op, dark red Arkansas Blacks. The latter are tart and good for baking, though the flesh goes brown quickly. I was glad I juiced the lemon first so I could toss them with it as they were sliced.

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It was my first, and not last, attempt at a clafoutis. Why haven’t I made one before? I made a few changes to Martha Rose Shulman’s recipe, substituting maple syrup for the sugar and whole wheat flour for unbleached white, then dumping the custard straight into the cast iron skillet. Easy and, as she notes, an impressive display.

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7 thoughts on “Arkansas black clafoutis

  1. Clafoutis is one of my favourite food-words. It’s fun to chant over and over again, like a cheerleader. Clafoutis! Clafoutis! Clafoutis! (Can you tell I get excited when I read this word?) I haven’t made it in awhile, but gosh darnit maybe I should. Thanks for the post!

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