If you only try one new recipe this summer, make it this one. If you want to be transported to a Provencal kitchen in one bite, this will take you. If you want to cheat on your diet, do it with this dessert. Just make it. Two nights after I made it, I wanted to make it again. I did, but I tested another recipe. It was a mistake.
Don't substitute anything, especially the apricots. If you want to tweak it, control yourself. You might feel some satisfaction by stamping it with your sifted powdered sugar initials just before you serve it, but it really doesn't need it.
The recipe comes from Lulu Peyraud who, with her husband Lucien, owns and operates Domaine Tempier, the premier producer of Bandol wine. Throughout the years, they have hosted a parade of food and wine luminaries including Alice Waters, Paul Bertolli and Richard Olney, the author of many books on Provencal cooking, including this one. and recipient of The James Beard Award.
I have never been a big fan of clafoutis but this one is other- wordly. Half flan, half souffle, Madame Mere and I cleaned up the whole thing in a sitting and a half. A couple of nights later I made Julia Child's recipe just to see the difference and MM told me to throw it away and go back to the first. This from a woman who took lessons at the Cordon Bleu in Brussels and worships at the altar of Julia Child and Gourmet magazine. You don't get a better endorsement than that.
Clafoutis Aux Abricots
From "Lulu's Provencal Table," by Richard Olney
2 TBS butter
1 pound apricots, halved and pitted (6 or 7 depending on size)
2 oz slivered almonds
2/3 cup sugar*
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup flour
1-1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375F. Butter shallow baking dish of a size just to hold the apricots**. Arrange apricots closely, cut surface down in single layer. Fill spaces with the almonds. In a mixing bowl whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, salt, eggs. Sift in flour, whisking at the same time, then whisk in milk. Pour mixture over apricots. Sprinkle remaining sugar over surface (I whisked in 1/4 cup by mistake but it was perfect)*. Dot with butter. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden crust has formed. Serve tepid.
Note: Even though I made a mistake at the end with the sugar, I would suggest you do the same if your apricots are not too sweet to begin with, like mine were not. Besides, the difference is not that great. See my comment below to TIF.
** I used an Emile Henry small rectangular dish (Small: 11 3/4" x 7" x 2 3/4" high; 3 1/4-qt. cap.)
All photos Lindaraxa