The recipes I make don’t come in printed words. They come in barely-readable letters that I’ve written too fast. Felt-tip pen codes, more often than not smudged with water, or butter, or as you’ve heard me say before, chocolate. Ingredients quantities are crossed out and forever adjusted. I keep those notes in identical notebooks; black leather and square-lined pages, at times blank or simply lined.
The older volumes are worn out to the point of – what common sense would call – no return. But I don’t care about the tears, the smudges, the missing pages, the words I sometimes have to make up since I can’t even read myself.
Those books are much more than a chef’s collection of recipes, they’re the very epitome of that dream I once had. Just like his lips on mine, this morning, before he left. And mine on his, tonight, when he’ll come home.
Dreams are made to happen. They will hit you in a way very few things do.
Yesterday was just that. I’d like to tell you it was early in the morning, but that wouldn’t make sense, and you know, it was a Sunday after all – we had a cup of coffee and scrambled eggs on – not toast but – crumpets; and this alone was a wonder in every possible way. But we had bought a newspaper, which by then, was sitting on the kitchen table.
I opened it, not unlike a Christmas present.
And I took flour and sugar out from the cupboard above the sink. We had a punnet of blueberries on the counter, and eggs, milk and butter in the fridge.
Yes, when the fridge is that full, it can be no other day than a Sunday.
And you see, I flipped the pages, and clafoutis happened. My own words. In neat printed letters. I needed no recipe for this cake (and really, can clafoutis be called as such, a cake?) that my grand-mère taught me how to make, most likely one summer of the early nineties, most likely with cherries we’d just picked from the garden, most likely we dusted it with a touch too much of icing sugar.
But if you knew her, the way I do. And if you loved her, the way I do. You wouldn’t be able to shut the eff up either.
And I guess that just like dreams, grand-mothers have to happen too. And clafoutis might as well come along.
Grand-mère, je t’aime.
Yes, I did not need a recipe to make clafoutis. But it was there and it was the most wonderful feeling ever.
The Observer Food Monthly ran a Paris Pastry Club extract, featuring a whole bundle of the simpler recipes I share in the book.
And I’m now beyond excited, counting days, hours, minutes and seconds until the 21st. It will be Easter Monday for most, but for me, it will be forever remembered as the day one of my dreams became true.
In the meantime, let’s make clafoutis become true.
Clafoutis aux myrtilles
A recipe from Paris Pastry Club, coming out April 21st.
I would usually make this with the very first cherries, or at the end of the summer, with plums or figs. But you see, this is London and we’re in Spring. No such things as ripe stone fruits in April! I settled for those blueberries we’d been nibbling on the night before after I came home from a busy service. That night we stayed up until five am, talking nonsense and no-nonsense. It was amazing.
I woke up to my phone flashing twitter notifications and too many emails for my sleepy eyes to understand.
We went to the corner shop and bought milk and crumpets, and the Observer. It was just as amazing. Not for the general reasons, but simply because a dream was not as such anymore and my passion was to be read by all of you who’ve encouraged me since the foodbeam days – almost ten years – in the comfort of your own home.
Welcome to my kitchen! A kitchen where dreams happen and cake too!
Since it was only two of us, I divided the recipe by three, but I’ll put the original ingredient list too in case you’re feeding a crowd.
Clafoutis aux myrtilles
65g plain flour
40g caster sugar
a pinch of salt
25g unsalted butter, melted
130g whole milk
100g blueberries (see note above)
200g plain flour
120g caster sugar
a pinch of salt
80g unsalted butter, melted
400g whole milk
Preheat the oven to 200°C and generously butter a 15cm dish (or a 30cm tart tin, if making the full recipe).
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the egg and mix in the melted butter. Then gradually add the milk, mixing well so no lumps form. If you’re not fully confident it is lump-free, strain the batter through a sieve.
Scatter the blueberries into the prepared dish and gently pour the batter over. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and quite firm. It can be slightly wobbly in the centre but a skewer inserted in the middle of the clafoutis should come out clean.
Allow to cool and serve in thick wedges with crème fraîche or yoghurt, or even maybe ice-cream.