½ cup (125ml) milk
½ vanilla bean, split and seeds removed
pinch of salt
200g ground almonds
1 tsp either Kirsch, Grand Marnier or Cointreau
zest of ½ a lemon
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp melted butter
sauteed vanilla pears (recipe below)
1 tbsp sugar, extra
1. In a blender or standing mixer, fix the whisk attachment and blend the cream, milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla seeds and salt for 1 minute. Add the ground almonds, liqueur, lemon zest and flour followed by the melted butter, and blend for 1 another minute or until smooth. Leave the batter to rest for half an hour before using.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C.
3. Pour the batter into a buttered frying pan (about 14cm), ceramic or enamel baking dish. Strategically place the caramelised pears into the clafoutis, ensuring the wedges are evenly spaced and not touching each other.
4. Place in preheated oven After 15 minutes, when the clafoutis has begun to set, remove from the oven, sprinkle the top with 1 tablespoon of sugar and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until set. The clafoutis is ready when firm to touch and light brown. To test, pierce the centre with a small knife; it should come out clean when cooked.
5. Let the clafoutis cool to room temperature before serving at the table with chantilly cream (recipe below).
Andrew McConnell's sauteed vanilla pears recipe.Photo: William Meppem
Sauteed vanilla pears
Throughout winter I struggle with the lack of exciting fruits at the market. We are always trialling new methods and techniques. This recipe for roast pears now makes its way back into the kitchen each year and is one of my favourite recipes for cooking pear. These pears are just as delicious served as a standalone dessert with a good dollop of whipped cream or quality vanilla ice-cream.
4 firm packham pears
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp soft butter
1 vanilla bean
1 tsp Poire William* or brandy (optional)
1. Peel, quarter and core the pears. Heat an enamel or stainless steel frying pan that will house the pears tightly. The pears should form a snug single layer in the base of the pan and not be stacked up on top of each other.
2. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds with the back of a knife. Julienne (finely shred) the remaining vanilla pod and set aside.
3. Add the butter, sugar and prepared pears to the pan. Place the pan over a high heat and gently saute, moving the pears about from time to time as they caramelise. When they are caramelised, add the water, brandy and vanilla bean.
4. Cover with a tight-fitting lid or aluminium foil, turn down the heat to a low and cook for 10 minutes, checking occasionally and adding more water as it evaporates. Once cooked remove the lid and simmer stirring occasionally until all the liquid has completely reduced. Set the pears aside to cool until ready to add to the clafoutis.
*Poire Williams is fruit brandy (eau de vie) made from Williams pears.
150 ml whipping cream
100 ml creme fraiche
3 tbsp castor sugar
1. In a bowl or blender with the whisk attachment, vigorously whisk the cream, cream fraiche and sugar together. Continue to whisk until the cream has started to thicken to soft peaks. Store the whipped cream in the fridge until ready to serve.