A flognarde (or “flaugnarde”), as I learned on Apartment Therapy: The Kitchen recently, is essentially a clafoutis made with a fruit other than the traditional cherries. And what, then, is a clafoutis (or “clafouti”)? It’s a French dessert made of fresh fruit with a sort of custardy batter poured on top and baked. The result is mildly sweet, laced with soft, warm fruit in a sort of eggy, pancakey dough.
I’ve been a bit biased against clafoutis, ever since the year in high school that my mother decided she would start baking me birthday clafoutis rather than a birthday cake. I’m not sure what motivated this strange tradition in my household, but it persisted through the next few years until I left for college and no longer spent my birthdays at home. Sure, clafoutis is much healthier than say, a chocolate layer cake, and warm, fruity desserts can be lovely, but parents, should you ever debate making your teenager a birthday clafoutis, just say no. It’s no substitute for delicious heaps of cake and buttercream frosting and sticking a candle in it just looks sad.
But faced with a large carton of rapidly aging Italian prune plums (thanks to Costco) and a spate of recent postings on clafoutis on some of my favorite blogs, I decided that I was high time I got over my anti-clafoutis sentiments. Making a clafoutis (or a flognarde, in this case) is dead easy- just mix up the batter, halve the fruit and you’re practically done. In my mind, it’s the poor cousin of a cobbler, crumble, or crisp- it’ll do in a pinch and it’s a relatively healthy, light dessert option, but it lacks some of the crunch and zip of its relatives. Nothing a dollop of homemade whipped cream couldn’t fix, though.
Would I make it again? Sure. Just as long as it’s not my birthday.
Plum flognarde (serves 8-10)
3 tbsp butter, softened
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound prune plums
Powdered sugar (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. LIghtly butter a 10″x 10″ Pyrex baking dish.
2. Beat the milk and eggs thoroughly and add in the butter, melted. Sift the flour, sugar, spices and salt, and beat with a whisk or beaters into the milk and eggs until smooth without any lumps. Pour about 1/3 of the batter into the pyrex dish and bake in the oven until just set – about 10 minutes.
2. Pit the prune plums and cut in half. Arrange on the firm batter, cut sides down. Pour the rest of the batter over top and bake until puffed and firm – about 1 hour.
3. Remove and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Dust with powdered sugar to serve.