“A what?” you ask.
I know. Same. Blueberry Clafoutis sounds like one of the entrepreneurs on Dragon’s Den, and because it sounds a bit like Theo Paphitis, I thought this dessert was Greek. And I told many people so. Despite Fugh Sternly Hittingstall declaring its actual heritage in the Guardian weekend mag from which I pilfered the recipe. But, a-ha, it’s not Greek at all (I discovered this after cooking it) – it’s French. A famous French pudding and a sort of custardy, batter-y cake stuffed with bursting juicy fruits.
Are you ready, little kitchen? I’m about to bake my first cake.
First things first, let’s get my ingredients together, which are:
75g of plain flour
75g of caster sugar
Pinch of salt
Unsalted butter for greasing your dish
300 ml of whole milk
400g of blueberries – I washed, strained, and ripped the stalks off mine. I suggest you do the same.
2 medium eggs plus one egg white
Icing sugar for dusting
Double cream for pouring
1) Pre-heat oven to 190c/375/or gas mark 5.
2) Butter a 25×20 or 25-diameter dish if you have one. I didn’t. I had an oval one. More of which later.
3) Next, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Whoa whoa whoa. What on god’s earth does ‘sift’ mean? A quick call to my mum later I discover it means to put through a sieve in order to alleviate lumps. Why couldn’t Hugh just say this, people? (Below you can see me in the act of sifting.) Then you stir in the sugar.
4) Beat together the eggs and egg white. Hang on, what does this mean? Two yolks and one white? “Muuuuuum?” After quick phone call to Ma J I discover it means two all-in eggs and one egg white. And while I was glad I wasn’t starring on Saturday Morning Kitchen at the time, I did manage to do that swappy eggshell yolky thing successfully and emerge with clear, non-eggshelly whites. Wa-hey.
5) Next, pour your beaten egg mixture into the centre of your mound of flour and sugar and gently whisk (hand whisk is okay, I checked with my mum) it all together, while slowly pouring in the milk until you have a smooth batter. Oh em gee, I appear to have one! This doesn’t happen to people like me, I swear.
6) Giddy with excitement, I spread my blueberries into the buttered dish and poured in the batter. It looked like the beginnings of a goddamned cake.
7) Sorry, went off script there. Next, put it in the oven for 35 minutes until it starts to go golden and brown on top.
8) Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with double cream.
Oh my God, would you look at that?
I baked what looks like a cake.
And here it is cut up and placed on the £8 million 232-carat crockery:
Let me tell you, that oval dish was a blimmin nightmare to cut from. But once I’d kind of manoeuvred my knife in and around, I got what looked like a slice. It landed where it landed on the plate, sorry, and due to this dessert’s inherent wibbliness (I’m guessing) I decided not to try and fiddle with it just for the sake of a symmetrical picture. Perhaps this was because it needed a bit more time in the oven. But I followed Hugh’s instructions by the book so maybe not. I don’t know. I didn’t even know this cake was French.
Here is an outtake:
The important thing is taste, though, non? And to me, this tasted quite nice: light, not too sweet, fruity and quite a winning texture. And my sister agreed! You’ve got to love her. My uncle, who likes to cook, sounded as if he were in two minds. He told me I could add a little baking powder to make it rise.
But… as I’ve discovered from copious Googling it isn’t meant to rise, uncle. It’s meant to look (a bit) like this. Maybe next time I will flout Hugh’s rules and leave it in the oven for another 5 minutes, though. I’m mad like that.