One of my favorite fruits awaited me in my csa crate this week, tucked into a crumpled brown bag. The farm has one Italian prune plum tree, and my halfshare resulted in a pound of the humble beauty.
I can, and have, eaten a pound of ripe prune plums in one sitting, to dramatic and not altogether pleasant after-effect. Their tart-sweetness, and hearty flesh make them more of a cousin than sister to the californian stone fruits of summer, but also make them a dream for baking. I make at least three clafoutis each year with whatever good IPPs I can find. Here is my recipe.
Clafouti is one of those dishes that is easy to make and yet can be utterly gorgeous in presentation, especially if you use pie plates for the baking instead of casserole dishes. Any stone fruit works, but when the IPPs bloom with wine/magenta color in contrast with the buttery pudding, it’s tough to beat for looks and substance. If stone fruits are out of season, try with sliced firm apples (cortland is my preference, if you have them where you are), sliced thin. Maybe macerated in a little calvados… oh, you can do whatever you want. It will be delicious.
My first recipe came from Monet’s Table by Claire Joyes, but you can find plenty of variations at epicurious.
1 cup flour
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk (soy milk if dairy is a problem)
2 tbsp unsalted butter (shortening again if dairy prob)
5 cups pitted prune plums, sliced
Preheat the oven to 375F. Make a batter with flour, 2 tbsp of sugar, eggs, salt, and milk, beating the mixture until smooth. (Instructions say it should not be too liquid, but given the proportions, that’s tough. Batter will have similar consistency to pancake batter.) Use the butter to grease a 9 inch pie pan – deep dish is ok. Put the plums into the pie pan – the fruit should be firmly packed. Pour the batter over the fruit and sprinkle the top with the remaining sugar. Bake for 45 minutes or until the batter is golden brown.