Clafoutis // noun, super French, [klah-foo-tee]: An almost breakfast-y tart kind of dessert that’s eggy, custardy, fruit-studded, and somehow cake-like in structure and substance. Best enjoyed warm, with soft whipped cream, powdered sugar, and your third cup of coffee for the morning. Fruit is essential. Cherries are traditional. Cranberries are happening.
See also: firm but still really good flan. See also: really eggy cake. See also: Stop making poor comparisons when French breakfast dessert is what is, aka DELICIOUS.
Did that get weird? (Rhetorical.)
We’re making a French, custardy, I-want-to-call-it-breakfast-cake with fresh cranberries because tis the season. Here’s where we start!
The apples on my kitchen counter are looking at me in utter confusion. They don’t understand how I could make a beautiful pie crust, make a sweet, pecan-studded crumble, bring out the bourbon, and reach for the pears instead of them.
They can’t understand how I’d have a pie party without them. Especially this time of year.
I think I heard them whispering and conspiring with the canned pumpkin to stage some sort of baking coup, but I’ll keep my eye on them. Frankly, they’re pretty cocky and presumptive. I can make a delicious Fall pie without them.
The apples are going to be so mad when I eat them with plain old peanut butter, but really… can we show pears some love? It’s time.
Chill out apples.
For this lovely Pear Bourbon Crumble pie I used Red Anjou pears because they were beautiful (and totally on sale). I wanted them ripe, but not mushy-gushy, and getting to that point take great attention to the fruit bowl. One day pears are perfectly ripe but firm, the next day they’re bruised and molding. Keep an eye on em.
(The apples are like… SEEEE, we told you so! And I’m like… hush up, apples.)
This pie recipe is just slightly adapted from The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book. One of my very favorites.
Fancy is rarely what it seems. Fancy sugars. Fancy honey. Fancy salts. Little kitchen gems that add a boost of flavor and an extra ooohhh and aaaahhh from guests… they’re actually easy kitchen tricks. Thing is, you don’t have to tell a soul how easy they are. Let the kitchen glory and flavor victories be yours all yours.
Today we’re making fancy, fruit sugars. The fragrant, brightly colored sugars you might use to rim a margarita or daiquiri drink, sprinkle on cookies, or top your cinnamon sugar toast.
Banana sugar on cinnamon sugar toast? Bonkers good.
Pineapple sugar rimming a daiquiri glass? Yes, very much.
Strawberry sugar on sugar cookies? How divine!
It’s Fall which is basically jazz-hand season for new cookbooks. This book, by Adrianna of A Cozy Kitchen is one of my absolute favorites.
Not only are there cozy and comforting recipes, but the book is also filled with crafts and outings and life inspiration. It’s about living a happy, full life… and it just feels very very good. The Year of Cozy.
This might be my gifting book this holiday season. Go ahead and forget that if we’re friends… spoiler alert.
Let’s make some sugars extra sweet. It’s easy as pie. Easier than pie. Way way easier than pie.
Some days just feel like good days to turn on the oven. The kind of day when you think you might-could crank up the heater, but instead you let the oven do the work… and maybe throw in a simple, fragrant loaf of banana bread. It’s a win-win-win: warmth, aroma, and actual fresh banana bread.
I made this loaf of banana gluten-free using an all-purpose 1-for-1 flour mix. I really like King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi Purpose flour because it tastes clean. Bob’s Red Mill is also good but has more of a bean flavor. Glutino, also found in many grocery stores is a great option.
I should do a baking test of gluten-free flours, shouldn’t I? Yes.
First, banana bread.
I watched the movie Steel Magnolias the other day.
The full picture (if you’re curious) was me, my cat Tron, a rousing Thursday night, a shamefully large bowl of cheese grits and peas, and a paper towel I later used as a cry-tissue, sitting on my bed watching the movie Steel Magnolias.
I was thinking I’d REALLY like there to be a Steel Magnolias cookbook. Those ladies have got to have some pretty amazing deviled egg secrets, an unbelievable roux up their sleeves, and likely a recipe for chess pie that will knock all of our socks right off.
I’d also like there to be a Father of the Bride Cookbook, a Home Alone 2 Cookbook, and a Stepbrothers snack guide. What I’m saying is… I’ve got a lot of cookbooks to write in my future.
First things first, a Steel Magnolias, Louisiana-inspired, butter-present Brown Butter Chess Pie. Shelby. Too soon.
This post is in collaboration with Land O’Lakes because their butter is delicious!
Here’s what happens when you add a blow torch to your kitchen arsenal: you find an excuse to toast or brûlée everything in sight. When you have fire from a portable gun, why wouldn’t you top everything in sugar and crisp it? It’s foolish not to, frankly.
Can we make nachos with a kitchen torch? There’s only one way to find out.
Let’s focus on the matter at hand: buttery shortbread crust, sweet and tangy Meyer lemon filling, topped with caramelized and crisp sugar. Brûléed sugar, because we have actual torch fire in our hands.
Classic lemon bars, with a small stroke of genius.
This recipe was inspired by Christina of Dessert For Two. I happen to believe in dessert for too many, but Christina is reasonable and disciplined where I am not. Old habits (die hard).
Before Joy the Baker was Joy the Baker…. Joy the Baker was a low-level, middle school candy hustler.
I used to buy candy from the ice cream truck after school, repurpose it, work it and twerk it, and re-sell the candy to other kids… at a markup of course. I was in it for the glory and profit.
There was a method to the hustle: buy blow-pop lollipops, jolly rancher hard candy strips, and starburst candies. Get them home and into the kitchen without them being confiscated by big sister or hungry mama.
I’d unwrap the lollipops. Somehow… and this part is hazy… heat the jolly rancher bar and wrap it around the lollipop. Then heat the starburst candy and smash it on top of the blow-pop creating a MEGA three in one candy experience. Four in one candy experience if you count the bubble gum inside the lollipop. I think there was boiling water and tweezers involved. The memory is murky.
I’d wrap these candy knobs in plastic wrap and sell them at school. Is that allowed? Who knows.
Where did this candy creation come from!? These were the days before Pinterest. How did we have any good ideas at all?
Does anyone have any idea what I’m talking about? Surely I didn’t invent this Franken-candy on my own. Did you meld candy in your middle school years in order to hustle them and garner middle-school fame?
I mention my monster candy creation because one sip of this juice brought be right back to my candy layering days. In other words, this juice tastes just like candy, and it’s pink, and cold, and otherwise delicious.
“I’m not so sure about watermelon and green salad.”
I hear you. I hear you, fan of donuts and caramels and watermelon margaritas. Watermelon and greens? Suspicious. I totally get it.
Just imagine this watermelon as a crisp, slightly sweet, juicy and delicious plate upon which you eat your salad from. Except it’s an edible plate. A plate that you’re going to eat. Because actually it’s just fruit and it really is delicious with a slightly spicy kale salad.
Its August. We’re melting. But we’re not going down without a fight. Watermelon and greens to the rescue.
Some things are better left a mystery. It’s best not to know how many grams of fat are in a really good Pina Colada. When drinks come with umbrellas and a side of fruit… all bets are way way off.
It’s best not to know how many miles you’ve run when your knees are sweaty, your breath is just about gone, and you’re dog tired. It’s the knowing that will have you talking your run-brain into stopping after the next tenth of a mile. Maybe that’s just me.
It’s best not to know how many people hate-follow you on Instagram photos because… how is that even a thing that people have time to do!? Good grief.
It was best to be oblivious to the fact that we can make funnel cake… yes, the fried state fair delicacy… right in our very homes. But now that we know, it feels like out duty to not unknown… and thus, eat a whole heck of a lot of funnel cake.
It’s just that things get a little out of hand once you know you can make things like funnel cake and Beer Battered Onion Rings and Homemade Ranch Sauce right in your kitchen… in your very own kitchen… and you don’t even have to be wearing pants (although you should for hot oil safety… seriously).
I should also mention that making homemade funnel is pretty dang easy. There’s one part where we get nervous and hold our breaths a bit… but other than that, too easy. We’re in real trouble now.
Remember my Summer Bucket List? (How is your list coming along, BTW?)
Well… I’m ticking them off. I’m super close to meeting my running goal of 7 miles AND to celebrate, I’ve decided to cross another goal off my list: making jelly filled doughnuts!
To-do lists that include making and eating doughnuts… pretty smart on my part. Life goals that include making and eating doughnuts… I feel like I’m doing a pretty great job at life. Get in on this with me.
Doughnuts, luscious and buttery dough from scratch. Sweet strawberry jam and spicy black pepper for flair. Why not show off a little?
hen I was a kid, you couldn’t pay me to eat parsley.
Actually. That’s not entirely true. You could have paid me in candy bars to eat parsley… but no one was doing that… that would have been a dream come true.
Now. Grown (mostly). And I love parsley. I think it’s bright, hearty, and adds just the right taste of green to summer dishes. It’s an accent, but it doesn’t wilt or shy away. It’s proud and confident, green and healthful. Let’s put parsley with some fruit and call it a salad.
Related. Still happy to be paid in candy bars. That’s an option.
can just smell the campfire now. I can feel that tinge of burn in my eyes from the smoke, and I can hear the John Denver.
Campfires remind me of the last nights of sleep away summer camp. When I sat with a group of girls… girls who just a week earlier had been complete strangers, now absolute best friends… bidding farewell to our Summer time together, wondering how we’d ever live without each other, without craft hour, without the flagpole song, without the knot workshop, without sliding down the big hill on a giant block of ice. Just HOW will we go on?
We’d sing Leaving on a Jet Plane and cry… all the way CRY and promise friendship and love and more summers to come. Then we’d eat these bananas gooey chocolate and marshmallow bananas, sleep one last night in our bunks, fold up our sleeping bags (impossible for child hands), and wait for our parents to come pick us up to take us back to home-summer with all of its daytime television and chores (uuugh chores).
I’m still figuring out how to recreate that campfire feeling here in New Orleans. I think it’s too humid for fire. Is that a thing? I think, yes. Luckily, I have an oven that heats itself with fire and I can hustle up the most gooey part of my memories: baked bananas, in foil, with a glorious mess of toppings.
always wanted a ponytail. A ponytail I could position extra high on my head with hair long enough to cascade down to my shoulders, cheerleader-style, youthful, bouncy. The kind of hair, that you can flip around to express various emotions, from bitchy to bored to flirty.
I don’t have ponytail hair. Never did.
What I’ve always had is a fine, curly, frizzy, perfectly acceptable, head of hair that I’m completely grateful for. It’s just not ponytail hair. It’s not hair I can whip around to express my enthusiasm for life.
That’s how hair works, right?
Summer fruit, all of the gorgeous peaches, apricots, strawberries, and plums… they’re like a gorgeous, shiny, lustrous, perfectly bouncy, high ponytail. Showing off, effortless… a little enviable even.
Luckily, no matter what hair grows from our head, high ponytail or not… it’s our time. It’s Summer and the markets are bursting with sweet fruit flavors. Let’s get at em!
ecause it’s Monday. Because it’s just about summertime. Because we like fruit with our breakfast. Because we’re grown and we can do what we want… we get to drink lots of coffee and eat lots of cake for breakfast.
Blueberries, oats, and pure maple syrup make anything breakfast so… CAKE it is!
I’ve been experimenting a lot with gluten-free baking lately. I’m sure you’ve noticed. It’s possible you have a question mark in your mind about it. Well… I want to learn how to bake without wheat. Baking is such a science and I know how wheat flour interacts with leavening and liquid. Gluten-free flours are a whole different science. I want to know that I can still make fluffy cakes and flakey biscuits in the absence of wheat. So far I’ve had some major fails and happy triumphs. This is one of the triumphs.
Eventually I’m going to try making my own gluten-free flour blend to use in my kitchen but I’m still getting my footing. Right now I use King Arthur Flour’s Gluten-Free Flour and I’m going to give Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef’s All-Purpose Flour Blend. They know what’s what!
If you’re hoping for more gluten-FULL coffee cake recipes, here’s your jam:
• Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Brown Butter Glaze. A recipe from my cookbook Homemade Decadence.
• Pear Crumble Coffee Cake. You might not be in the mood for pears, but I think strawberries would also be mega!
• Coffee Coffee Cake Muffins. I mean… let’s make our cake taste like coffee!
• Brown Butter Blueberry Muffins. These really are THE BEST!
have very fond memories of a stained red tongue, way sticky fingers, and a messy stained t-shirt from those convenience store/ cherry-sweet slurpees. You know… the ones that come with that long plastic straw with the scooper on the end? Heaven for an eight year old. Follow that slupree with a good run through the sprinklers and I’m pretty sure there was nothing better.
We’re grown now (right?). We have bills to pay and really… I don’t think we give ourselves enough time for slurpees.
Say hello to adult slurpee-ing featuring fresh raspberries, lime, and hallelujah for gin!
We can skip the sticky fingers and stained shirts these days, but I really wouldn’t be above a god run through the sprinklers.
t’s part laziness… putting ice cream between two crackers and calling it a treat.
There’s some guile… folding crisp bacon, banana, and peanut butter into sweet vanilla ice cream.
It’s all-the-way riiight… dipping anything and everything into melted milk chocolate.
So here we are.
Crackers in hand. Bacon in our ice cream. Melted chocolate all over the kitchen. And we have Elvis to thank. The man who made a peanut butter and banana sandwich ultra popular would surely have been wooed supreme but these frozen treats.
It’s summer snacking! Long live the King (and bacon in ice cream).
‘d easily enjoy a daily diet of milkshakes and french fries. Steady. I’d never flinch. It would be a dream.
In related news, I just spent the last six minutes browsing milk shake machines on Amazon.
Milkshake diet aside, I’m currently content with my fresh peaches, yogurt, and blender. It’s the reasonable alternative to milkshakes day and night.
This lassi is packed with healthful yogurt, fresh summer peaches, tangy buttermilk, and peach pie spice. The fact that it’s flecked with peach skin feels like a bonus. It’s summery, healthy, chilled, and supremely refreshing.
I hope it makes you happy. Also, I’d totally want cheese on my fries.
efore I was tall enough to see over and into the ice cream case at the drug store my very favorite flavor was strawberry ice cream.
I remember the ritual very well because going out for ice cream was so rare and such a treasure my eyes widen now just thinking about it.
A scooper girl, teen-aged and likely grumpy, would wrap a small piece of tissue paper around a flat-bottomed, kinda cardboard-y cone. She’d bend forward into the case with an ice cream scoop and emerge with a gorgeously haphazard ball of pale pink, strawberry studded, frozen cream that she’d precariously shape onto the cone. The treasure would be passed first to my mother, who your take a giant bite out of the cone before handing it down to me. Let’s not even talk about how frustrating it is to watch your precious ice cream being BITTEN INTO… that’s just childhood, you don’t make the rules but you do occasionally get ice cream. I’d hold onto the cone carefully but mostly desperately, willing myself not to lick the ice cream off its perch.
These fluffy strawberry and cream cakes remind me of the days when I was much younger, shorter, and didn’t have to buy my own ice cream. Those are precious days, indeed.
Oh. Quick note… once I got taller and could see inside the ice cream case for myself… my favorite flavor was that neon blue bubble gum ice cream. BUBBLE GUM in ice cream. Two treats in one! Such a loophole. Also disgusting.
ea. I definitely stood in the kitchen, staring at this gorgeous summer salad, wondering/hoping/wishing/longing to put all of these ingredients between two slices of bread to make an extra buttery, extra mozzarella-y grilled cheese.
I think watermelon in a sandwich might be out-of-bounds. I think this ultra fresh summer salad belongs on a plate with a knife and fork. I think I just want to turn everything into a grilled cheese sandwich.
Related: Lasagna Grilled Cheese
Summery goodness! And the great news is that tomatoes and watermelon are only going to get better as we get deeper into summer.
Now excuse me while I go daydream more grilled cheese situations.
ust in case you’re looking for an excuse to consumer obscene amounts of whipped cream or French Vanilla Ice Cream… just in case. Here we are!
The days are long and warming and I’m pretty sure I can smell peaches and berries in the air. It’s intoxicating and has me daydreaming about fruit pie combinations while lingering in the produce section at the grocery.
Today we peach and blueberry. Soon I’m thinking a strawberry raspberry pie is in order. Don’t even get me started on apricots.
It’s about to be a great summer!
You know how I feel about pie crust. I’ve never been shy about coaxing large amounts of butter into perfectly flakey pie crusts.
Sidenote: Five Tips For The Best All-Butter Pie Crust From Scratch.
This version of pie perfection is made with gluten-free flour. I love the King Arthur Flour variety and the only amendment I made was to add an egg yolk to the buttermilk. The yolk helps with binding the crust but let me be honest, the crust was still a bit crumbly.
Here’s the nitty gritty.