“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I must be making this too easy or maybe you are all just too damn smart out there. These...

are gooseberries.

"Whoa! Hold up Jeff!" I hear you shout. " Gooseberries are green, aren't they? Like this?"

Well, yes. But not all of them. There are in fact several varieties of red gooseberry. Google it if you don't believe me. Thing is, gooseberries are very tart, but some very smart scientific types decided to develop some different types that were a little sweeter, and, well, reddish. There's even a funny little fruit named the Jostaberry (pronounced 'yostaberry') that is a hybrid of a gooseberry and a blackcurrant. I'll have to see if I can find some of those.

But what can one make with red gooseberries? Well, of course there's pies and crumbles and fools, but how about something a little bit different for this blog? How about a clafoutis?

A what?

A clafoutis. The classic dessert of the Limousin region of France. Cherries arranged in a buttered baking dish and covered with a thick flan-like batter, baked and then served lukewarm, covered with confectioner's sugar.

Nigella Lawson, she of the annoying voice and perky boobies, has a recipe for a red gooseberry clafoutis in 'How To Be A Domestic Goddess', apparently, but technically that's not really a clafoutis but une flaugnarde.

Do what now?

A  flaugnarde is a sort of second cousin of the clafoutis. It’s where you use other fruit instead of the cherries -  apples, figs, pears, peaches or what I'm using, les groseilles rouges – red gooseberries.

Perhaps clafoutis recipes are as wide-ranging as ones for Languedoc cassoulet or Dublin coddle, hence all the flaugnardes. Even for a “proper” cherry clafoutis, people’s recipes for the batter mix will vary wildly too – from a Yorkshire pudding type gunk to a refined custard or even a light soufflé.

Clafoutis is comfort food,  and as with most comfort food it’s really up to you which way to go, and how custardy, cakey or puddingy you want it to be. And, of course, whether to have plums or red gooseberries instead of dark cherries.

So anyway, whatever you want to call it, try this...

1kg red gooseberries
5 eggs
25g butter
120g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
80g plain flour
500ml full-fat milk
1-2 tsps ground almonds (optional) – or about 2 tsps of flaked (slivered) almonds for a crusty crust
4 drops of vanilla extract (or a vanilla pod)


Lightly grease an oven-proof gratin dish with some butter
Put the gooseberries in the dish, fairly evenly spaced
Beat the eggs and sugar together
Add the flour, then the milk, then the vanilla extract; mix well to get rid of lumps
Stir in the ground almonds if using
Pour the batter over the dish of gooseberries
Sprinkle on the flaked almonds if using
Bake in an oven at 190C for 45 minutes (approx) until golden brown
Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly
Sprinkle with sugar
Serve with cream, vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche

OK folks, next food?

Name This Food!


  1. I don't know what to tell you about the too easy/too smart question, but all I'm saying is that phad thai is a major part of my diet.

    If you visited Seattle much during your stay in Washington state, you may have noticed our many Thai restaurants. We are very fortunate.

  2. Well well. I think it's a judgement call on the too easy/too smart thing, and it's a real pity that I didn't get into Thai food until a few years later. I used to love going to the Bamboo Garden on Roy St. though. Serious yums.


Come on and chew the fat!


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