Clafouti and a Tribute

Fresh from the oven, Clafouti is puffed and bubbly!

Coq au vin, Boeuf Bourguignon, Vichyssoise, Clafouti… had these names even been pronounced much less heard of in any home kitchen in the United States before 1961? I’m sure they had somewhere, but was anyone actually cooking them at home? I think not so much.

My mom’s copy of THE cookbook.

A woman changed all of that here…Julia Child. She brought everyday French cooking to the United States, but more than that…oh so much more, she brought a French food aesthetic and culture to the U.S. and made it assessable for everyone, and primarily the home cook. Her exposure to her husband Paul Child and the culture and worldly food they shared, informed her desire to cook and then fueled a wish to educate her home country about French food and cooking, prompting the massive undertaking that was cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The impact that book had on her life and the lives of all who read it and tried making the dishes in their own homes, was nothing short of phenomenal.

We all know her here as the “French Chef” saying “Bon Appétit” to us from her Public Broadcasting, omelet misfire-flipping, black and white TV early years. Throughout the remainder of her life (she was 50 when this journey started), she continued to be a seminal figure in cooking including sojourns with master chefs, bakers and the great Jacques Pépin. If you haven’t read her journey yet in the form of the many biographies out there, now is the time. You can look here for a few books to bring you up to speed. And if you have room for only one of her cookbooks on your shelf, it should be Mastering the Art of French Cooking, though I have many of her cookbooks and they are all good!

As I said in my last post, we are zooming in upon her 100th birthday next Wednesday, August 15. The challenge has been issued and here is my first recipe…Clafouti.

I’ve made a lot of Clafoutis, but somehow had never tried Julia’s recipe. It’s my mom’s favorite recipe for Clafouti and is actually quite a different process from any others I’ve made, and very fun to make! First, she uses a blender to whirr up the batter…that’s unexpected. Then you make it in a pyrex or flameproof dish because it has to have a layer of batter cooked for a minute in the bottom, before you proceed with the cherries and the rest of the batter. You then add the cherries, a layer of sugar and the rest of the batter, then cook it for an hour and voilà! A beautiful, puffed and bubbly dish emerges from the oven, deflates slightly and cuts like a pie…and tastes amazing, of course. Many have posted her recipe on the internet, but in looking at them they aren’t quite true to the original in the cookbook…so I’d recommend trying it her way first! You can pick up a copy of this great cookbook in a used bookstore or online.

The classic Clafouti process, according to Julia.

So what great dish of Julia’s have you made so far? Please tell me about it, and better yet, share a photo of your dish on my Facebook page for us all to see as we celebrate her birthday! You can get there by clicking the “like” button on the homepage of this blog in the Facebook box, or click this link right here. You have 4 days left before her birthday, so let’s get cracking!

Classic Clafouti, from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

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50 thoughts on “Clafouti and a Tribute

  1. This looks fantastic, Betsy, and so very Julia. The first time I cracked open her cookbook was a revelation. And I still sit mesmerized whenever I watch her old TV shows. She certainly was one-of-a-kind.

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  2. I am so excited about this tribute Betsy, you cannot imagine. I have my Julia recipe baking in the oven downstairs as I type this. I am very impressed by the Hellman’s video and that you chose a Canadian clip. Chuck Hughes http://www.chuckhughes.ca/ is a well loved celebrity chef here! Thank you!
    There is no doubt why that clafouti is your dear mother’s favourite recipe, it is simply beautiful and it looks like it would burst with delicious cherry flavour with every bite. What an amazing idea you had; I had no plans this weekend and suddenly I do…Thank you!

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    • Hi Eva, I’m so excited that you’re having fun doing this with me! As to taking credit for the video you saw, I cannot. That is WordAds beta with WP, and it decides based on each person’s likes what it will show you and whether or not it will be a video clip or an ad. I only wish what is showed ME was as fun as what is showed you…but I will follow your link! Am looking forward to seeing what you have baking! ~B

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    • Oh Ali, you need her cookbook…it’s just so wonderful to read and you can learn so much. I’ll confess, I haven’t cooked my way through it by any means, but I refer to it a lot! You can get used versions online and in used bookstores for a steal! 🙂

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    • Thank you Sharyn! I love my version of clafouti and I love this one, too. Julia’s recipe seems more French to me somehow, because of the process and the resulting texture, which is more like the first clafouti I ever tasted.

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  3. Whenever I think of Julia, I think of butter – oh what a happy thought – LOVE my butter. I have never made any of her recipes – should really fix that ASAP. Your clafouti looks perfect and so much like I should should have 2 slices!
    🙂 Mandy

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    • Hi Mandy, and yes, BUTTER, and yes 2 slices would be way too easy in one sitting! 🙂 You should make this. It’s super easy except for pitting the cherries, but you can make it with pears or other fruits…I make my own version with apples. It’s good stuff.

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  4. Beautiful clafoutis Betsy – and a wonderful tribute. I’m not so familiar with Julia Childs – in fact I only heard of her very recently when watching the film Julie and Julia!

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    • Thank you, Charles! And oh my, you need to catch up on Julia. 🙂 Her first cooking show, The French Chef, was so fun and funny. (You can find them on DVD) She wasn’t a natural in front of the camera at first. She had such a high voice and was such a joker, not to mention that she was over six feet tall…she was a real kick to watch. Her shows were a big part of my childhood. The film Julie and Julia doesn’t come close to the real life person that she was.

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  5. I’ve been looking forward to seeing more posts as we approach her birthday. Your clafoutis is the prettiest one I’ve seen so far! I love the photos of the steps she/you used. Her method does sound unusual! I’ve probably not got time to make something in her honor.. but am happy to see yours! xx

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  6. Betsy, I read Julia’s memoir “My Life in France” and I was so inspired by her determination to write this book — despite many obstacles along the way. Her passion and commitment to both cooking and writing were nothing short of remarkable. I’m afraid I have another tough week, but I would dearly love to make something on Wednesday. If I don’t, I’ll be right there in the kitchen in spirit. Your clafouti looks amazing!

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    • Hey Barb, thank you! I know how it is when you have a tough week. I’ve actually made two of her recipes…the second that I will post tomorrow or Wednesday. I had to do two really easy ones that I already had ingredients for because I had so much going on! I think being there in spirit is great, too. It’s all in fun, anyway! 🙂

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  7. Pingback: Happy Birthday Julia Child! Savoury Oven Roasted Tomatoes, Caramelized Onion and Goats Cheese Galette « Kitcheninspirations

  8. Until I started blogging I’d never heard of her, I guess for the British the cook who brought France to our homes and kitchens was Elizabeth David, I have my mum’s book and still use it today.
    And could you save me a portion ?!

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  9. Pingback: Longer Days, Lighter Meals and a Little Anniversary! | bits and breadcrumbs

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