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Ginger Pear Clafoutis: An Easy, Inexpensive Fall Dessert


If you'd like to impress your guests or family without going to a lot of trouble or expense, make a Ginger Pear Clafoutis. A clafoutis is a baked custard dessert that became popular in France in the 19th Century and traditionally featured dark cherries. Nonetheless, many French cooks have substituted other fruits for the cherries depending on what they have had on hand--apples, pears, plums, and berries, for example. The non-cherry result is more properly called a flaugnard. The clafoutis or flaugnard is simply fruit covered with a soft batter of milk, eggs, and a little sugar and flour. You can call the recipe I'm providing you by either name. It will taste as good. The pears provide a sweet, gentle filling, and the ground ginger a bit of warmth. If you'd like to add heat to the clafoutis (I'll stick with the name clafoutis, because I like it), you can add some chopped crystallized ginger to the batter. It will definitely give the clafoutis zing, but, beware, some people don't want spicy heat in their desserts. If you do decide to use the crystallized ginger, you might want to serve the clafoutis warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to tame the heat. Or just serve it with ice cream anyway. It's really good that way.

Ginger Pear Clafoutis -- Serves 8

2 eggs

1/3 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon of almond extract

1/4 teaspoon of rum extract

1/3 cup of low-fat milk

2 tablespoons of melted butter, cooled a bit

1/2 teaspoon of orange zest

1/2 cup of flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

4-5 small-medium ripe pears, cored, peeled, and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces or so (about 3 cups)

2-3 tablespoons of minced crystallized ginger (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and coat a large pie dish with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until the sugar dissolves and the mixture turns light yellow. Whisk in the vanilla, almond extract, rum extract, milk, butter, and orange zest. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and ginger and then whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture just until you have a smooth batter. Use a spoon or spatula to add the pears and, if you're using it, the crystallized ginger to the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pie dish and smooth it out evenly. Bake the clafoutis for 50-60 minutes or until it's golden and a knife or pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the clafoutis cool for 10-15 minutes before you serve it, preferably with ice cream alongside. Or let the clafoutis cool completely and top it with some low-fat whipped topping or just a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

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