Last weekend, my mamma suggested that I try meditating. My very first thought was, so typically, “I don’t have time for that.”
I thrive on keeping busy, and have a creative mind that doesn’t rest even when I’m sleeping. I’ve been guilty before of juggling multiple projects, writing to-do lists broken down into many different sections, and realising too late that it’s worth taking a step back every now and then to avoiding burning out.
As Friday evening rolled around, the long weekend with no commitments stretched ahead of me, I realised that it had been weeks since I last baked, and weeks since I last didn’t feel on edge. And I remembered that, as it always has been, baking is my meditation.
So I baked, and baked some more, and then I had to find someone to take cookies off my hands. And now, my head’s in a more peaceful place.
Of course, it helps that there’s clafoutis in my fridge now too.
Before this weekend, I’d never eaten clafoutis, and to be honest wasn’t even 100% sure how to pronounce it. I’m that person who goes to an Italian restaurant and picks what to eat based on how easy it is to say: a lisp and a slight country bumpkin accent have set me up for a lifetime of pronunciation errors without even factoring ignorance in. It’s all kinds of embarrassing.
But with three empty days, and puddles to avoid as summer and autumn exchange pleasantries, the decision to stay inside and try something new came easily. Any ingredient list that includes sugar, milk, eggs, flour, and blueberries is guaranteed to pique my interest.
What came of it wasn’t like anything I had half-heartedly expected (having, really, no idea what to expect at all). I’d been fooled into likening the appearance to that of a cake; tricked myself into thinking it’d be like some bizarre sweet quiche. But clafoutis isn’t any of those things. It’s a smooth texture – hard to describe but kind of like a cross between a no-bake cheesecake, custard, and an English style pancake.
The addition of lemon gives the mixture a little lift, a zing right at the end of each mouthful like a full stop. Only it’s hard to fully stop because it’s so damn good. The recipe says it serves 6…but I honestly wouldn’t judge anyone who accidentally ate 2 servings in one sitting. (What? No, of course I didn’t. Maybe.)
Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall/The Guardian
95g plain flour
Pinch of salt
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
2 large eggs + 1 egg white
Juice of approx. 1/3 a lemon
1) Preheat oven to 190C and butter a 25cm round dish.
2) Sift together flour and salt, then stir in the sugar and lemon rind, before forming a well in the centre. Beat the eggs and pour into the well, whisking to gradually incorporate the flour. Slowly add the milk, and then lemon juice, whisking continually until you get a smooth batter.
3) Spread the blueberries in the buttered dish, and pour in the batter. Bake on the centre shelf for around 40 minutes, until golden brown and just set in the centre. Allow to cool before dusting with icing sugar and serving.
– Frozen blueberries are fine! They’re what I used. If using frozen blueberries, allow them to defrost and transfer to the baking dish using a slotted spoon so that as little juice as possible is added with them.
– It may be worth putting a baking tray on the bottom of the oven to catch any drips or blueberries that spill over when the clafoutis rises.
– Pedant’s note: technically a non-cherry clafoutis isn’t a clafoutis at all – it’s a flaungarde.