There are certain words I hate pronouncing because I know, no matter what, I am saying them wrong. For example, ricotta. I grew up in a family where they pronounced it as if it had a G in it, if your parents grew up in Brooklyn or Queens they probably say it the same way. If I had to spell it phonetically it would be Ra – Gut , with no signs of an A at the end. The emphasis is on the GUT and it’s not said delicately, instead with a slight toughness in the voice as if you may actually be gutting something. I didn’t grow up in Brooklyn or Queens and I just can’t pull that off without feeling like an idiot. Now on the other end of the spectrum, there are people who really butcher it and say Ra- caata, and in my eyes, that is just as embarrassing. Unfortunately I’m not Italian enough to say it as beautifully as it should be pronounced, like Ms. Giada DeLaurentis’ Re – coata, so I just avoid the word at all costs.
There are many other words, especially in the world of food, that pose the same problem. Clafouti is a French word that I didn’t hear until I was in culinary school. I don’t know anyone French, nor have I been to France, nor have I ever even heard this pronounced on TV by a reputable source such as Jacques Pepin. So, I’m sure I ruin the word every time I attempt to pronounce it. The name, at least the way I say it, does not sound nearly as luxurious and sensuous as the dessert really is. Although it doesn’t sound as inviting as lets say a Creme Brule or a Souffle au Chocolat , I assure you it is one of the best French desserts you will ever have.
It’s a light and airy baked custard that gently hangs on to barely cooked seasonal fruit, such as cherries or in this case, peaches. It’s not too sweet and only needs a quick dusting of powdered sugar to dress it.
It’s not something you can cook ahead of time, as it is at its best fresh out of the oven, served warm. Like many of my other favorite French recipes, it’s surprisingly simple to put together and incredibly impressive as it emerges from the oven. Make this NOW, trust me, it will be one of the best things you ever eat, no matter how you pronounce it.
Peach Clafouti – adpated slightly from MarthaStewart.com
- 5 large eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup low-fat yogurt ( original recipe calls for sour cream, I have also used Ricotta )
- 1 cup low-fat milk ( original recipe calls for whole milk )
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla ( I prefer vanilla bean paste syrup )
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5-6 large peaches or nectarines – sliced into 6 pieces
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and flour until combined.
- Then whisk in yogurt, milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt until the mixture is smooth.
- Pour mixture into four individual custard cups or 1 large baking dish ( custard should come 3/4 of the way up).
- Place peaches on top of batter.
- Bake until custard is browned at edges and center is set about 30-35 minutes.
- Let cool for a few minutes, dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.