gluten free clafoutis

I’ve made claufoutis(es?) many times before, but this time I took a different approach. Mostly because, cough, I have an awesome mixer that I got for Christmas. Having a standing mixer has really changed my life. It seriously reduces the time of making most anything. It might seem stupid and like I am exaggerating, but if you spend a lot of time cooking, it is an investment worth looking into. Plus, with my NEW (double lot) BACK (no garage) YARD, I am going to use it to make SAUSAGES. I am a nut. I realize that making sausages sounds unappealing to most people. However, if you are reading this, you are probably my friend or Mom/Aunt and either agree with me or find my stance amusing.

Photobucket (Image courtesy of the Spice House website)
I’d also like to give a shout out to Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean paste. This product is amazing and convenient. As I re-stretch my muscles in my home kitchen and remember how to enjoy making food for pleasure’s sake & sustenance, I’m remembering that the simplest way is often the best. I also don’t have to hand whip my eggwhites to stiff peaks or get all esoteric and weird about taking logical and tasty shortcuts.

Strawberry Claufoutis

2 eggs, whites and yolks separated
1 cup sugar
2 cups almond flour (gluten-free, I use Bob’s Red Mill)
3/4 cup browned butter
1 T vanilla bean paste
1/4 t ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
Oven preheated to 350
1 pie pan, greased, lined with greased parchment, & dusted with almond flour.

1. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks are formed, using a whisk.
2. Add egg yolks, mix until combined.
3. Add sugar & vanilla bean paste.
4. Add browned butter. It should be cool, not hot, so it doesn’t make the eggs curdle. If it’s still warm, temper the mix, just add a bit at a time. When it is done, it will kind of look (and taste) like the most delicious marshmallow fluff. Hey, you know what, you just made a “kind of” Italian meringue! Congrats!
5. Switch to a paddle if you have a mixer, switch to a wooden spoon or spatula if you don’t.
6. Add almond flour, mix batter until well combined (but some lumps are ok)
7. Line your greased/parchmented/floured pie pan with sliced strawberries. If you are using cherries/blueberries/raspberries, you don’t need to chop them up. You don’t have to cut up your strawberries either, I was just trying to make my product stretch. If you decide to not chop them, you will need more than 1/4 cup.
8. Gently pour the almond batter over the tiled strawberries. Be careful not to move the berries around.
9. Tap the pie pan on a hard surface to remove any significant air bubbles.
10. Bake at 350 for about a half hour, until the top is golden brown.
11. Let cool. This is important folks. If you don’t let it cool completely, it will not hold its shape and it will be a tasty disaster.
12. Once it is cooled, you get a plate and gently flip the pie pan onto it. If you’ve greased it properly, it will come right out. Remove the parchment paper, slice up and eat.
13. Try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting, maybe save some for your boyfriend.
14. This is really really good with coffee, a perfect gluten-free breakfast pastry.


skillet pie

First though, my friend Whitney and I canned 4 gallons worth of produce a few weeks back. 56 cans in case you were wondering.

I don’t know about you, I always but prefer pie to cake. Imagine my chagrin when I realized I don’t own a pie tin. I suppose I could have gone to Target and bought one, but I thought my trusty cast iron skillet would work well as a replacement, and it did. In fact, I’m not sure if I will ever buy a pie tin. The cast iron skillet caramelized the bottom of the pie crust and it tasted so good. I didn’t use or make up my own recipes this time around, but I did do a kind of recipe mash-up (AND its not even 2007! remember mash-ups?)

I found this recipe for a graham cracker crust to be the best I’ve come across. I’m excited to experiment with gluten free graham crackers, so my mom can eat it. As a side note, one of my customers recommended that I read the LA Times Food Section. I’m so glad I got that recommendation, it’s truly great.

After I read the LA Times article, I made a pumpkin pie in my skillet.
It was tasty, I used molasses instead of honey.

Later in the week, I was still feeling the pie vibe and had some extra plums. I also had some random heavy cream in the fridge that I needed to use up, so I made a plum clafoutis. I used the graham cracker crust recipe from the pumpkin pie article, this egg custard recipe, soaked some plums in apricot brandy/lemon/sugar, placed the raw custard in the cast iron skillet over the graham cracker crust, artfully arranged the plums, and baked in the oven at 350 for an hour, and presto!

I love emptying my fridge.

persimmon murder


The other day, Gerard and I did all of our grocery shopping in our general neighborhood. My friend Sarah has written well about the glories of small, local non-corporate groceries, so I won’t expand too much, but I will second and applaud paying a fraction of what one pays at Whole Foods or (gasp) Trader Joe’s to get better, cheaper, and more authentic ingredients; while at the same time participating in a worthwhile local economy.

The plan was to go to Kurowski’s Sausage Shop at Milwaukee and Kimball and the Chicago Food Corp at Kimball and Belmont. On the walk up there, we discovered an awesome Hispanic market, whose name I can’t recall. It was on Milwaukee between Kimball and Central Park and had amazing produce (normal sized, not huge) organic greens (!!!) and a wide selection of other goods. We picked up some pipian, a couple of delicious lemons, and some sardines which we’ll eventually use for savory fritters.
When we got to Kurowski’s, Gerard was impressed (or grossed out) by the vast selection of goods including sausages and many root vegetables. Among other things we got beets, sauerkraut, horseradish, my favorite Amish Butter, and a pound of Polish rye bread. I also bought two sausages which I am eager to try. Our bag was starting to get heavy, but at this point we had only spent about twenty dollars. This is fantastic seeing as when I go to Whole Foods, it’s depressing to find both my pocketbook and grocery bag lighter than I’d like.

After our adventure in Poland we walked over to Kimball and Belmont. On our way we discovered a mystical sandwich shop/ bar that apparently stays open until 4am. Some hot night in the summer, it might warrant a date post midnight, provided that said sandwich shop has air conditioning. We arrived at the Chicago Food mart with a mission- we were making curried squid over coconut rice for a late lunch (unfortunately, I did not have my camera that day). We got all the necessities for that culinary adventure (who knew that the butchers at the Chicago Food Mart spoke Spanish? Not me!) While there, I spotted two things I knew I needed to have: Kewpie Mayonnaise (which we will find our more about later- I know it’s been featured in a lot of popular food press for the past few months, but my curiosity has been piqued and I’m jumping on the bandwagon) and Persimmons.

Persimmons are that weird looking orange tomato-ish thing that you’ve probably seen a few times and wondered or worried about.

I get a lot of flack for growing up in the “land that time forgot,” ahem. But the food in Indiana is good. Persimmons became popular in Indiana for some reason. I do believe one of Indiana’s founding fathers had a penchant for all things Asian, specifically Japanese, because the state tree is a ginkgo and the state flower is a peony, go figure. Persimmons are also Japanese. I imagine his wife making persimmon pudding for the first time back in 1818, when Indiana was a young state. This is probably entirely false, but it sounds cool. Anyway, my friend’s mothers were not pioneer women, but they could make food that stuck to your ribs. My parents are not native Hoosiers. Seeing as my parents were foreigners in a strange land and their only daughter was really skinny, I was always fed by people who take skinniness as a personal affront, which most people in Indiana seem to.

Persimmons might be an acquired taste, but it is one worth getting. The fruit is sweet and when ripe the taste is not unlike that of a plum with a more drippy texture. On the package, persimmons are called “Nature’s Candy”. On another rocking Friday night with the most happening young woman in all of Chicagoland, I decided to make some persimmmon pudding in honor of my Hoosier roots, thorugh truth be told I was born a southern bell in Charlottesville, Virginia. Whatevs, Indiana is a state of mind.

I based my recipe on one I found in the “Joy of Cooking” except that I halved it and tweaked the ingredients.

I used:

1 cup persimmons, skin removed

2 eggs

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 cup cream

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and took the persimmons out of their skins

Then I mixed the ingredients

Then I put it in a casserole dish

Next I placed it in the oven

In 45 minutes I had a a delicious persimmon pudding!

It was pretty tasty, and everyone who had a piece confirmed it.

Next up, party, which I am getting ready for momentarily!