If you follow Twice as Tasty on Instagram or Facebook, you won’t be surprised by the topic for this week’s blog post. That photo I shared of Monday’s strawberry harvest from the garden surpassed 12 pounds. No wonder I was tired of picking them by the time I was finished.
Most of those berries will end up as syrup, because it tops my sister’s Christmas wish list every year. As a bonus, I get to keep the roasted fruit solids, turning some into jam and simply freezing the rest in ice-cube trays to drop into smoothies and hot cereal next winter. Some of the fresh ones have already been gobbled up on my morning granola with Fresh Yogurt and my daily salads. But I couldn’t resist baking some into a Twice as Tasty birthday dessert.
I must admit: my fruit-syrup-loving sibling is also the dessert fiend, and I tend to drink my “special treats.” So last week’s post featuring Bourbon-Infused Smoked Cherries appears more often on the “dessert” menu from my kitchen than cakes and cookies. But for birthday month, you can have all the dessert you want, right? So this month I’m drinking my dessert and eating it too—as a simple yet delicious strawberry pudding cake, or clafouti.
Ready to give it a try? Full details are in the recipe below, but here are the basics:
You just need strawberries plus some kitchen staples.
1. Mix the batter.
2. Layer strawberries, batter, and more strawberries in a pan.
3. Bake and enjoy.
Strawberry Clafouti (Pudding Cake)
2 tablespoons rum or brandy (optional)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups 2% or whole milk
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
butter for greasing
powdered sugar for dusting
Remove the hulls from the strawberries (setting them aside if desired; see below) and cut each berry in half or quarters if large; set aside. Combine the rum, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, milk, and flour in a blender or food processor; puree until smooth.
Butter a 1-1/2-inch-deep ovenproof dish, pie plate, or cast-iron pan. Spread half of the berries on the bottom of the pan. Pour the batter over the fruit; arrange the remaining strawberries on top. Bake at 375°F for 40–45 minutes, until the cake edges are brown and puffy. Cool for 5 minutes and dust with powdered sugar before serving. Serves 6–8.
Tips & Tricks
- This dessert isn’t as fancy as some of the other Twice as Tasty birthday desserts I’ve shared, such as Triple Ginger Cake and Layered Chocolate Pudding Cake. But it packs intense flavor from fresh summer fruit.
- You can still gussy up this “cake.” For a flavor boost, swap out the plain sugar for a vanilla- or herb-infused one. Trade the rum for homemade triple sec. You can even pile on toppings like Lilac Cream and additional fresh strawberries as you would with strawberry shortcake.
- If you didn’t end up with strawberries to spare from your first big harvest, like I did, don’t despair: plenty of other fruits can be turned into clafouti, including the traditional black cherry (see below).
Twice as Tasty
When I first thought about sharing a clafouti recipe for this year’s birthday dessert, I intended to load it with sour cherries, the fruit I used when I began making this pudding cake years ago. The traditional French dessert features sweet, nearly black cherries and an almond flavor enhanced by leaving the pits in the fruit. But once I started substituting other fruits it hit me: Clafoutis are really nothing more than sweeter, fruiter Dutch Babies. I grew up eating this puffy pancake for breakfast, and on Christmas morning my mom would make a special version with apples. She never realized that by layering cinnamon-and-sugar-coated apples under the batter she was turning her Dutch baby into a French clafouti.
So if you want to make this dessert Twice as Tasty, there are plenty of options:
- Cherries. Go traditional by swapping the cherries for strawberries, perhaps soaking them in brandy ahead of time. If you use tart cherries, you may want to toss them with a little extra sugar. I dislike having to pick the pits from the dessert, so instead you can add a splash of almond extract. You can even put a layer of sliced almonds at the base of the pan and as garnish over the top. For a gluten-free variation, substitute almond flour for the wheat flour; the cake will be a bit heavier but just as delicious.
- Apples. My mom’s Christmas Dutch babies were still a breakfast treat, but you can put dessert spins on them by using the volume of sugar given here and the brandy boost. Toss the apples with some lemon juice and cinnamon for bonus flavor, and grate a little lemon zest over the top when serving for extra pop.
- Other fruits. Now that you have the basic recipe, other fruits become easy replacements. Try grilled peaches or oranges or fresh wild berries. Out of season, you can swap in frozen fruits; just be sure to defrost them completely first and drain off the juice (putting it to another use, of course) to keep the dish from becoming soggy.
- Outside the box. The talented Patricia Wells goes beyond breakfast and dessert with her variations on clafouti in My Master Recipes: she turns them into dinner. Her rich variations, which often use cream instead of milk, include morels with Parmesan, chorizo with onion, and summer squash with Gruyere.
If you stick with strawberries, keep in mind my suggestions for top-to-root eating and save those strawberry tops and hulls. Spread them on a dehydrator tray, and dehydrate at an herb setting until completely dry. You can mix them with tea leaves for a flavorful morning beverage or drop them into a bottle of blanco tequila and let them infuse for several weeks before straining and using in a paloma or margarita.
Want to play with more variations? Twice as Tasty is teaching these techniques in a workshop held in your own kitchen, among friends—and with my personal help. Click here to learn more.