Saturday, April 5, 2008

apricot & caramelized banana clafoutis

Apricot & Caramelized Banana Clafoutis 3

It occurred to me the other day that anyone who has spent more than five minutes with me in the last two years probably knows I like to cook, either because I bring it up in conversation or because I'm pushing a homemade treat under their nose with a hopeful look in my eyes at the first available opportunity. I can't help it. Cooking just brings me so much joy. For me, being alone in the kitchen with a few fresh ingredients a couple of times a week is cathartic. As I stand there chopping, whisking, kneading, and sautéing, the things in this world that burden me most start to melt away. For a short while I can forget about that all-important career path, my progress on the Grow Up--Get Married--Have Babies scale, and those pesky little "what-ifs" that like to hide in the corners of my mind.

Apricot & Caramelized Banana Clafoutis (large)

Yes, for me, the culinary arts have restorative powers. Occasionally I'll take on a task that is a bit too big given other constraints, but even those frazzled moments are forgotten as soon as the next successful dish comes out of the oven. As time passes you'll not only see more successful dishes on Dulcedo, but also more original recipes, evidence of my natural progression on the culinary learning curve. However, I'll seldom venture off the recipe-following path without having tried a similar recipe by a more experienced cook first. Kitchen failures can be disheartening, so this is my way of preventing them.

Donna Hay, like Martha, Ina, Dorie, and others, is certainly a master at her craft. I've been wanting to try one of her recipes for quite some time. Coincidentally, I've also been waiting for spring to try my hand at a clafoutis (pronounced klah-foo-tee), so when the 19th round of Hay Hay it's Donna Day (hosted by Bron Marshall) was announced as the clafoutis edition, I figured there couldn't be a better time to cross both of those tasks off of my to-do list. I made some significant changes to the original recipe because I desperately wanted to use apricots and caramelized bananas together. (One of things I'm getting pretty good at is knowing what a finished dish will taste like before I actually make it.) I think my alterations worked out well. The finished clafoutis was dense but not heavy, with hints of caramel and juicy bites of fresh fruit. It was pleasantly sweet and pleasing to the eye -- successful on all fronts!

Apricot & Caramelized Banana Clafoutis
Adapted from a Donna Hay recipe and a recipe from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
Serves 6

4 medium bananas, ripe but still firm, sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
1/4 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, at room temperature
1/2 cup flour, sifted
1/3 cup caster (superfine) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup cream
3 ripe apricots, peeled, halved, and pits removed
Fresh raspberries for serving

Place 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a large skillet. Cook over high heat, shaking skillet occasionally, until sugar just begins to caramelize. Remove from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of butter. Add bananas to skillet in a single layer and cook until bottoms are browned, 1-2 minutes. Flip banana slices over and cook until bananas are caramelized on both sides, another 1-2 minutes. This is what your caramelized bananas will look like. Transfer bananas to a separate plate and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 355 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and superfine sugar. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, eggs, and cream. Whisk in the flour mixture until combined.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to a 10" oven-safe skillet and cook over medium heat until melted. Pour half the batter into the pan and then place 3/4 of the caramelized banana slices in a layer on top of the batter. Pour the remaining batter mixture into the pan and top with the apricot halves. Bake until puffed and cooked through, about 40 minutes.

Top clafoutis with fresh raspberries and remaining 1/4 caramelized banana slices. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, if desired.


  1. What a scrumptious looking entry! thanks heaps Dana

  2. Thanks, Bron -- looking forward to seeing the roundup!

  3. Beautiful and I love the unique combination.

  4. you know, i've been mulling over the idea of giving a go at a cafloutis myself. and "caramelized banana?" sounds like the perfect way to start :)

  5. Very nice idea, I have pondered bananas in a clafouti. Glad to see someone has tried!

  6. Ran across your blog last night...cannot for the life of me recall how...but was immediately taken. Gorgeous. Oddly, one of the next few things on my list to make is indeed a cla-foo-tee - I'm going to try blueberry - and I'm using a recipe from a French gal - but yours looks utterly delicious, so now I'm torn. Either way, fabulous blog - so glad I blogged into you. :)

  7. Lucy - I first tried the caramelized bananas in a cake from Martha Stewart's baking handbook. If you like them in the clafoutis, be sure to try out her cake, too -- it's divine!

    Lisarene & Gretchen - thanks!

    Ann - What a lovely compliment - thank you! I'm currently updating the design of the site and working on a new section with a full recipe index, etc. It's a lot of work, but worthwhile if people enjoy reading. Thanks again!

  8. yummy yummy yummy! I'm definitely going to do a banana version next time. I may have to nix the apricots though because they are out of season in New Zild.

  9. this is one scrumptious, tempting looking clafoutis! I wish I stay somewhere near you!

  10. yum! caramelized banana mixed with apricot? who can resist??

  11. I have been wanting to try a banana version too. Yours looks absolutely wonderful! I really like your blog (and I loved reading your post - I feel the same way).

  12. Mandy -- I can only hope that my blog encourages more tourism in the Pacific Northwest!

    Arfi -- Not me, that's for sure. I managed to eat this one on my own (over two or three days).

    Phemom -- I'm so glad to hear that you like my blog. It's definitely a labor of love for me, so I'm glad others are enjoying it.

    Barbara -- Thank you. If the empty pan is any indication, it was!