Sunday, 10 November 2013

Breakfast, but Better...

"Clafoutis" di Cachi, con Spezie Invernale & Marmalata di Cranberry
"Winter Spiced" Persimmon Clafoutis with Cranberry Jam

There are good and bad things about any given season in the year. One of the bad things about Winter is the cold of course, the grey days, the wind, rain and snow... but some of the good things are the foods and spices we get to enjoy at that time of year!

Persimmons are starting to come into season here in Europe- beautiful, golden, yellow/orange orbs of deliciousness! They are pretty hard to resist! And then of course there are all of those wonderful spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, coriander and cardamom- also pretty irresistible to me! So, guess what? This morning I just didn't resist! ;-)

I was going to make pancakes again, but let's face it- this here is a little more special looking and makes a nice change- whilst basically being the exact same thing. I know that clafoutis are supposedly desserts- but this would be too much for me after a full meal... not first thing in the morning though!

It is basically a simple pancake batter, which I slightly elaborated on and baked in the oven instead. And rather than serving fruit with pancakes as one does- you know, berries or bananas are favorites, I baked these yummy persimmons right in there and the result was pretty delicious! Also, with this wonderful fruit being so sweet, and the whole thing not frying in a pan, I was able to do without butter and too much added sugar as well... so this was a much healthier treat at the same time. And yeah... I do like that part of it very much!

The first thing I did to prepare this, was to peel the persimmons, halve them and then cut slices into them, almost to the bottom, as you can see in the photos. I then wet them slightly under the tap, popped them onto my baking dish and pushed them into the hot oven to get a head start on the rest whilst I got busy with it. That little bit of water will heat up, turn to steam and help cook the persimmon... that's all it takes. 

In the meantime, I cracked and separated 2 eggs, whisked up the whites to a stiff, fluffy snow and beat the yolks together with 3 tablespoons of flour, 2 tablespoons of yogurt, 1 cupful of milk, 2 tablespoons of custard powder and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. I added a pinch of salt and sweetened mine with just 1 tablespoon of honey- there would be more honey to come later and the jam and the sweetness of the fruit itself- and for me that was enough. If you like things sweeter though... now is your chance to do it!

Next of course- it was mortar and pestle time! In went 2 tips of a star anise, a half teaspoon of coriander seed, a small piece of cinnamon (1cm), 2 cardamom pods, 1 clove... and the pestle! And then I pounded and ground it down as finely as I could, for 2-3 minutes, before adding it to the egg yolk/batter. I stirred it together well and then folded-in the egg whites, until it was thoroughly blended... and then fetched the persimmons out of the oven!

Out came the persimmons and in went a very light brush of butter, swiftly followed  by the fluffy batter, which of course immediately began to set- then straight back into the oven it went for 2-3 minutes. This gave the batter a chance to set at both the bottom of the dish, as well as on top, where it had already become lightly firm. This was great for setting the persimmons down on, as they lightly sunk-in to the batter, but still remained visible- if I had simply poured the batter over them, it just wouldn't have looked so pretty. 

Back into the oven it went, at 250°F for 15 minutes, in which time it fluffed-up wonderfully and filled the apartment with s wonderfully sweet and spicy perfume... mmmmh! I then added a nice drizzle of cranberry jam, for some color, contrast... and a little fun! And lightly drizzled the whole thing with honey, before returning it for a further 10 minutes. Time to do some tidying up, brew some coffee- and get ready for a delicious breakfast!

Again- this is little more than a pancake mix, with a few little extras- but a whole lot more fun every now and again when you feel like treating yourselves. You may want to do so more often once you've tried it! :-)

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