Never again pear clafoutis

Dear Susan Herrmann Loomis,

I love your book On Rue Tatin, but your pear and honey clafoutis recipe made me want to tear my hair out!

If you’re wondering “what the heck is a clafoutis?”, you’re not alone. I had never made or eaten one before this weekend! According to Wikipedia:

a Clafoutis, sometimes in Anglophone countries spelled clafouti, is a baked French dessert that is typically made by baking fresh fruit (traditionally cherries) and a batter, halfway between a Yorkshire pudding/pancake batter and a custard, in a baking dish.

By Sunday afternoon I had an edible version, but let’s review what went wrong:

1) Don’t bring your computer into the kitchen and g-chat while you’re baking. You will probably do things like add 3 x the amount of sugar called for in the recipe. Once I realized my mistake I spent a good 5 minutes removing the extra sugar from the mixing bowl with a tiny teaspoon.

2) If the recipe calls for an 11-inch tart pan, a 10-inch spring form pan might give you problems. 5 minutes after popping clafoutis #1 into the oven I noticed a horrid burning smell. “Don’t worry,” I tell my roommate, “it’s probably just some excess flour on the outside of the pan that’s browning”. No. My spring form pan leaked and a big blob of batter was burning on the oven floor. Hello, smoke alarm. I tucked some foil around the pan to stop up the leak and continued to let it bake.

burnt clafouti batter

3) After I pulled clafoutis #1 out of the oven, I attempted to make the caramel sauce. I made it 3 times before I got it right. Note: The measurements on the website recipe are NOT correct. I hunted around for some other caramel sauce recipes and deduced that you need 1 Tbs sugar (not 2!) and 2 tsp water for the sauce to form. Also, don’t taste-test hot caramel with a metal spoon. You’ve been warned.

4) When I woke up on Sunday morning and lifted the foil to admire my clafoutis I noticed a pool of liquid in the middle of the pan. I cut a small slice and discovered that the center was completely undercooked. $#@%!! Luckily I didn’t have too much time to freak out, I had a half-marathon to run.

5) After my run, I went to the grocery story to buy more eggs and pears and started on attempt #2. Fortunately, the second round went more smoothly. My modifications:

  • 9-inch pie plate as the baking vessel (vs. 11-inch tart pan/10-inch spring form pan)
  • agave nectar in place of honey
  • lowered the oven temperature to 375 F
  • covered the clafoutis with aluminum foil after 15 minutes to prevent the top from over-browning
  • added a dusting of powdered sugar in lieu of the caramel sauce

Before baking:

Clafoutis prep

After baking:

Pear Clafoutis

Pear Clafoutis

pear clafoutis

The verdict? This was actually a pretty delicious (and healthy!) dessert. I would certainly eat it again as long as someone else makes it for me.

Question: Have you ever had any baking/cooking mishaps?

  • Awwwwww, Megs. Just reading about your Clafoutis obstacles made me feel so bad! I’m happy to report that I enjoyed a leftover slice of your final product last night for a snack and it hit the spot.

    As for cooking/baking disasters, my egg poacher always erupts in the microwave. Always. Even when I’m being careful, my eggs always explode. Haha.

  • You turned a disaster into hilarity. Thanks for making me choke on my coffee this morning!

    As for disasters: Microwave rice. Apparently it was “4 to 5 minutes” and not “45 minutes”…fire alarms were involved.

  • j

    I adore clafouti! The Only problem I have is that I can NEVER get it to come out of the pan in pretty slices…

  • Well I know it didn’t work out as planned, but the clafoutis is beautiful!!

    I’ve completely butchered pies, cookies and (my worst smelling disaster)…tempeh. I still can’t eat it!

  • That looks really pretty!! Way to go for attmepting it again. Knowing me, I would have been so annoyed and just gone to the store and bought a dessert! Way to make a postive out of a negative! You are one of the most positive people and I love that! 🙂

  • That recipe sounds so confusing. But I LOVE clafoutis! Over the summer I made one with cherries, blueberries, and amaretto, and it was not nearly as difficult as that recipe makes it out to be

  • Hahah – love your recap of the disaster. I have baking disasters all the time! I’m not a very good baker and I think our oven is a super oven, so my attempts always come out overdone. You’re a champ for making another – I give up. Perhaps becoming a better baker should have been one of my resolutions.

  • That looks fantastic!! I’d love to try it but I’m queen of baking disasters so I think I’ll see if I can trick someone else into making it 🙂

  • haha well it certainly looks like everything turned out amazing!

  • You get an A for effort, Megan 🙂

    I am TERRIBLE at baking! My cookies come out cake-like and I can’t make a pie to save my life (the crust always rips and leaks out pie filling).

  • GORGEOUS! and i am so jealous of your fun bloggy potluck! you ladies are all fabulous, and it sounds like you had a great time!

  • Ha ha ha ha. Thanks for filling us in! Sorry to hear about la disaster…things like that happen to me ALL the time with baking.
    So glad attempt #2 turned out fine!

  • Corinne

    oh no! you were on a mission!! i dont know if i would have gone in for a second try! I once really messed up a peach cobbler because i added too much baking soda or powder. it tasted metal like and oh just so gross.

  • Interesting, thank you! I spent my childhood in Yorkshire in the UK, and I’ve been trying to find a recipe for this delicious pie I remember eating all the time, but can’t remember what we called it!!! Do you know any famous pie recipes from Yorkshire?

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