I’ve made flognarde (twoversions) but never clafouti, until now. Clafouti is one of those intriguing French desserts in that it defies categorization – is it pudding, is it cake? Is it for breakfast or dessert? (You can have both, in my opinion.) My favourite definition of clafoutis comes from The Patisseries of Paris by Jamie Cahill and Alison Harris, “a cross between a pudding and a cake”.
One thing that never fails, though, is the star of the show: cherries. Classic, traditional clafoutis always have cherries – when other fruit is used it becomes flognarde (flow-nyard) but that distinction seems to be often ignored these days.
Cream rolls, profiteroles – call them what you will – are one of my favourite pastries. When I was little it was one of the ultimate treats on an outing, I loved biting into one with the pastry cream (sometimes it was whipped cream) oozing out, relishing the creamy coolness encased. It was magical how these little balls of pastry could be filled with cream – even explained to me, it was mystifying how they were filled.
In the words of Bertie Wooster, the mind boggled.
When I chose Carol as my adoptee it was with high expectations, of myself: making gluten-free and dairy-free cream puffs. Carol’s cream puffs have been on the very top of my list of must-tries forever; I have made her dairy-free pastry cream before but didn’t, until now, make the pastry that makes the puff. Heh.
I’m sure you know Carol, whether personally or through her blog, or maybe you’ve heard of her. She’s recently published a cookbook, Simply Gluten-Free Desserts; a cookbook that I have not yet had the pleasure of giving a proper, thorough read but when I saw it in a local bookstore I didn’t hesitate to take a peek and it was anything but short of delightful. I’m keen to try the Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream, which sounds like a grown-up version of the classic strawberry.
My decision was timely, as she’s since posted a step by step tutorial for how to make cream puffs. That and the dairy-free recipe were my guides.
Over the course of four days, I have tackled pate a choux and I’ve yet to completely master it, but it has been – at best – a lot of fun so far. These are some things I’ve learned about tackling pastry and tackling any new culinary projects in general:
Before you set out on your new culinary project, don’t listen to stories of other people’s kitchen or recipe disasters for entertainment purposes or relive your own previous disasters. Even if you did avert that disaster or if that other person’s disaster isn’t related to your current project at hand, you’re only helping to pave the way for your own possible disappointment.
Don’t refrigerate batter that’s supposed to be choux dough in the hopes that it will thicken. It won’t work and it won’t puff at all.
I’ve written time and again about my brother and how he has played – and continues to play – an integral part of my blogging. If it wasn’t for him I’m sure I wouldn’t have started cooking and baking gluten-free and dairy-free, and much less thought of starting a food blog. So when he asked me if he could guest post here and share a recipe, the answer was of course! Please give a warm welcome to my little brother who is sharing an easy, basic recipe for tomato sauce served with rice vermicelli.
He was inspired to make this after seeing a recipe for spaghetti with tomato sauce in The Silver Spoon for Children – a delightful cookbook, by the way, with charming illustrations – which, after looking at the recipe, seems to be a basic tomato sauce, if not a staple, in Italian cooking with olive oil and garlic, sometimes with the addition of fresh basil, since there is a similar recipe in another Italian cookbook, The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces and our family’s been making this sauce for years.
After some debate on how to put together this post, we decided upon a comic strip format and to present it in a slideshow. We both hope you enjoy it.
Here are some strips from the slideshow for a little peek if you’re reading this in your email or RSS feed. Click after the jump to see the slideshow and recipe.