Saturday, June 28, 2014

Adventures in Baking

I've had a hankering for clafoutis (a yummy, custardy fruit tart) lately -- a very strong hankering, made worse by the fact that the only place I've ever gotten pre-fabricated clafoutis (Trader Joe's) is not only a good half hour drive away by highway, but also doesn't carry the same products all the time. So getting clafoutis up there is a crap shoot -- with no guarantee of a sweet, pastry and fruit payoff at the end.

Too many times of rolling snake-eyes on the clafoutis table inspired me to find a decent recipe for it so I could take control over my own cravings.

I found this recipe over at Orangette: Clafoutis. It's an adaptation of a New York Daily News version of the recipe which I further adapted by adding a pinch of dried, powdered ginger and two hefty shakes of cinnamon to the batter and a light dusting of sugar on top of the plums as they lay in the dish, waiting for assault with spicy batter. My plums were slightly under-ripe (two of the three, anyway), and I intended the sugar dusting to help mitigate the sour bite of the fruit -- which may or may not have worked as intended. I'll not admit either way. The ginger gives the plums an additional bite, the cinnamon a hint of burning sweet, and the custard turned out creamy, sweet and luscious.

It's easily the simplest version I've found in my extensive searches, and as far as I'm concerned, it's the only version I need. Typically, the first time I make a recipe, it takes me slightly longer to put it together (because I'm getting used to the process). If that holds true for this one, I will bend space-time the next time I make this clafoutis, because it only took five minutes to put the batter together. Any shorter prep time, and it will be baking in the oven before I finish whipping the eggs. The plums took a good five minutes to chop, and I imagine that process will continue to be time consuming. Although if I get riper plums, it might get shorter -- the less ripe plums let go of their pits very unwilling, bless.

Soo....ten minutes? Maybe? from dry ingredients to sitting on my ass, waiting for it to come out of the oven. In my oven, it took slightly longer than the 50 minute baking time (I gave it 51), and waiting half an hour to eat it was painful.

I can't argue the product, though:

I ate nearly half of it. And that's after my dinner. Blob, but it's awesome. I may have to make it with cherries next time, as is traditional.

Full stomach aside, there is knitting news.

I'm making a toy for a friend's new baby. It's going to be a jellyfish-inspired stuffed toy with jingles inside.

It's knit from in a flat piece that gets folded over and sewn up and stuffed. I got lucky when my yarn striped in such a way that the colors on each side of the body match (mostly -- the front and back ruffles are two different colors). I've been doing the tentacles in a mix-and-match stitch patterns. There's a seed stitch, a garter and a stockinette so far. I may try a slip stitch or a simple check for the remaining two. Or I may just do another garter and another seed.

The intended recipient is new here, he won't know about the wide variety of stitch patterns available to the average knitter until well after he's chewed holes in his jellyfish.

And to close, a cute picture of Rex:

who is currently acting like a wild animal in an attempt to get sent back to the orphanage.

He's lucky he's cute.

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