Monday, June 13, 2011
God of Carnage Clafouti
In Yasmina Reza's play God of Carnage, one character attempts to smooth over a difficult confrontation by playing a good host and serving clafouti...a French dessert. She waxes poetic and debates whether it is technically a cake or a tart. The dish sounds elegant, sophisticated and quite frankly, pretentious. But in reality the dessert is nothing more than a country custard. Simple. Base. A showy facade, much like the characters in the play.
In honor of the Guthrie Theater's production of God of Carnage, I attempted to make this specific incarnation of the dish.
Veronica describes her clafouti as one made with apple and pear...the apple sliced more thinly than the pear, because the pears cook more quickly. And her secret ingredient: gingerbread.
Clafouti is traditionally made with cherries, but it appears any fruit is game for this custard-like concoction. After discovering the basic batter, the clafouti was easy enough to adapt per Veronica's instructions.
inspired by a dessert mentioned in God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza
batter adapted from Julia Child's cherry clafouti
1 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup +1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup flour
2-3 Tbsp crushed gingerbread
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 anjou pear peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 golden delicious apple peeled, cored and thinly sliced
powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 375.
Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 10" tart pan or 9" pie plate. Dust with 1 Tbsp of sugar.
In a blender or food processor combine the remaining sugar, gingerbread, flour, salt, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Blend on medium until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
Arrange the pear and apple in alternating slices, covering the bottom of the pie plate. Carefully pour the batter over the top. Place pan on the middle rack of the pre-heated oven. Bake undisturbed for 35-40 minutes. The clafouti is done when puffed and brown and and a knife plunged in the center comes out clean. The center will settle as the clafouti cools. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, serve warm.
If you like custardy desserts, this will be right up your alley. The egg and milk create such a rich base that the gingerbread was barely discernable. But like most secret ingredients, that may be the key...provided just a touch of je ne sais quoi, without giving itself away. Even with only 1/3 of a cup of sugar the clafouti was a bit sweet. The pears were cooked to perfection, though the apples remained a little crisp (despite following the character's suggetion in regards to slicing).
The dessert certainly looks fancy and time consuming, particularly if you've taken the care to arrange the fruit in the bottom of the pie plate. But in reality it is ridiculously simple to prepare. I ended up making two...one for a snack this evening and tomorrow's breakfast, and a second to take over to a friends.
I am curious to try this with un-pitted cherries once the trees began baring their fruit this summer. Supposedly, though hazardous to teeth, the pits add a pleasant almond-y touch.