I hardly expected such a gourmet French dessert to come from a small, tattered booklet called “Grandma’s Cooking.” Cherry Pie, Blueberry Cobbler or Apple Brown Betty, perhaps. But not something called Clafoutis. (Pronounced “Claw-foo-TEE”). Never did I expect a few simple ingredients would produce such a rich, delicate baked dessert that is now one of my very favorite go-to recipes. (To think that I found Grandma’s Cooking at a thrift store for a buck!) Yes, it’s hot outside, and we don’t want anything heavy for dessert. Clafoutis is the answer! This simple treat begins with fresh fruit topped with a very basic combination of eggs, cream and sugar with a slight amount of flour and lemon juice. It’s a bit of a cross between cake, pudding and flan, and it’s remarkably delicious and light! Clafoutis, a local favorite dessert from the Limousin region of France, is traditionally made with black cherries. But most fruits in season, like plums, pears, apples and berries work just as well. This week blackberries were large and sweet, so that’s what I used. What I love about Clafoutis is that it is pretty much foolproof. Spread the fresh fruit on the bottom of an oven proof dish, pour the egg and cream mixture over the top and bake. That’s it. When done, Clafoutis get sprinkled with a light mist of powdered sugar and served warm, room temperature of cooled with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream! Wow! What a winner. So here you go. From the area of France that gave us the world-renowned Limoges porcelain, I give you another regional treasure, Clafoutis!
If you don’t want another cookie addiction, then maybe you’ll want to bypass this week’s column. If, however, you want to jump on America’s latest cookie craze, then you’ve come to the right place! Swig cookies, with their scrumptious pink frosting and craggy edges, are somewhere between a soft sugar cookie and shortbread, and they have certainly won our hearts! (To date, there are about 41 million search results for Swig Cookies on Pinterest. I’d say we are obsessed with these sweet treats!) The Swig cookie originated in Saint George, Utah in 2010 at the Swig Drive-by Drink Shop. Known for their signature frosty drinks and sweets, Swig has now expanded to multiple locations in Utah and several other states. The minute I heard about them I employed “The Niece Factor.” That’s when I make a big batch of cookies and drive them over to my nieces and wait for their response. With these Swig Cookies I got a text about 20 minutes later (before I even got home!) that the entire batch has been devoured. That’s good enough for me! I think you’re going to like these cookies. They’re fun to make and may even be worthy of a spot on your holiday cookie exchange platter this year.
I’ve always thought this cake is perfect for Easter time with its fluffy white frosting. Elaine Nall’s Italian Crème Cake is just plain crazy, out-of-this-world delicious. Period. The recipe was given to Elaine, a longtime Scottsdale educator, more than 40 years ago and it has withstood the “friends and family favorite” test ever since. It’s apparently the most requested dessert at Nall Family birthdays, anniversaries, holiday gatherings and even at Elaine’s church group—the one that has met for four decades every Christmas for a White Elephant sale. I’m just happy that when daughter-in-law Donna Nall quietly mentioned to me that Elaine was famous in the family for this cake, I paid attention. In between three ever so rich-tasting layers of buttermilk cake is a luscious slather of cream cheese and pecan icing. Yes, it’s absolutely perfect for Easter, or Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, just because, for no reason…
Watch my How To Video for Italian Crème Cake here!
I received the cutest cookie bouquet this week, and it got me thinking about making a few of my own arrangements for Valentine’s Day. So what makes the perfect cookie for decorating? How about the icing? How can we make our own decorated cookies look like the pro’s? Well, it takes the right cookie dough recipe, the perfect royal icing and a few tips to get you off and running. After Valentine’s Day, this recipe will be great for Easter, Christmas or just because! For a step by step tutorial, I’ve included the link to my video!
Watch my How to Video for Decorated Cookies here!