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!
fresh squeezed lemon juice
I’m not sure when pumpkin spice became such a national addiction, but these days you’ll find that flavor in everything— and I mean everything from frappucino’s to pumpkin spiced sunflower seeds. The minute October rolls around, pumpkin spice season is in full swing. You can bet that with just about anything pumpkin spiced, it’s going to have some calories. I am sharing an exception with you this week! I created a healthy, low calorie dessert for the clients at Red Mountain Weight Loss who are trying to find delicious things to eat while shedding the pounds. This recipe for Pumpkin Spiced Caramel Apples is the perfect tasty treat for anyone who doesn’t want to give up dessert while losing weight. The best part is, the only calories in the entire recipe come from one crisp apple! The ingredient used for sweetening the apple is Swerve Sweetener Brown Sugar Replacement. The caramel drizzle is from Walden Farms, a company known for its zero calorie, zero carb and fat free product line. The recipe calls for just a small amount of pumpkin spice, but it’s just enough to flavor the apple and yet give you the fabulous taste of fall. Finally, you’ll notice that I’ve opted for a crisp organic apple for this recipe. That’s because, in doing some research about which apples are the crispiest, I stumbled upon some disturbing information about apples. EWG (Environmental Working Group) is a non-profit organization that focuses on researching and rating a wide range of consumer products from sunscreens, cosmetics to food items in order to promote healthier consumer choices. Guess what always turns up on EWG’s Dirty Dozen List? Apples. EWG’s List describes food additives and pesticides that on certain products that may have a health risk to consumers. Non organic apples consistently land on the list, year after year. So, I say opt for organic apples when you can, and enjoy this delightful dessert that may end up being a new fall favorite!
Watch my How To Video for Pumpkin Spiced Caramel Apples here!
Donuts with our coffee were always a treat in my family because we didn’t buy them very often. When you’re Italian, the perfect paring with your espresso is a biscotti. But oh, those donuts! My real weakness, though, was an apple fritter. Those rugged, rustic clumps of dough smooshed together with apple bits laced with an ooey gooey glaze were just too irresistible! Now, to make matters worse for my waistline, what sits before me is a bread pan bubbling over with what pretty much looks like an apple fritter on steroids. This is going to be really good…or really bad depending on how much willpower I have. I found this recipe for Apple Fritter Pull Apart Bread that is made with delicious and delicate a sweet yeast dough and sugary, buttery diced apples that are caramelized. The dough is rolled out, topped with the diced apples, and then sliced in squares, stacked in groups of four, and just stuffed into the pan. This recipe is just downright fun. The pan went into the oven and an hour later, setting before me were apples laced slabs of heaven ready to be pulled apart and devoured! You can make this with the homemade dough recipe below or you can make it with refrigerated croissant dough. Just promise me you’ll make it!