As stated previously I am a huge Ina Garten fan. I even have my own “Ina voice” when I read passages from her books out loud that actually sounds nothing like her, and has a partial English accent. Of course all the passages I read aloud in my Ina voice involve some memory of her and Jeffery sharing a traditional French dessert or some brie on a picnic by the Seine. Ideally we would all love to have a massive house in the Hamptons and an apartment in Paris to share with our own Jeffery’s, but that’s not always feasible. Instead I bring you a Heal Your Headache safe version of her pear clafouti recipe for a special night at home or if you’re trying to impress company.
My mother in law is incredibly thoughtful and sent us a batch of Harry & David pears for Valentine’s Day this year. Isn’t this such a cute idea for someone with migraine who cannot have chocolate? I started thinking of different ways I could use them up the second the box arrived. It was like that scene in Forrest Gump where Bubba is naming off all the ways you can eat shrimp…a pear cobbler, pear salad, roasted pears, pear clafouti. I settled on pear clafoutis for Valentine’s Day dinner because it’s an easy dish you can make ahead of time and it’s really impressive. With only a few pantry staple ingredients, you create this beautiful and light custard dish. I did forget the dusting of powdered sugar as you can see in the picture, but honestly it’s still pretty without it.
This Valentine’s Day we decided to stay in, and I wanted to go all out by cooking a meal for my “Jeffery”. We have been through so much together in such a short time. It was only a year into our marriage I first began having symptoms of vestibular migraine. Although my husband didn’t quite understand what was going on, he faithfully drove me to all my doctors appointments and therapy sessions while we tried to figure it out. When my symptoms got to the point where I was incapacitated he started to join me at each appointment, giving him a better insight into exactly what was going on. It was also helpful for him to ask his own questions or step in when I had forgotten to ask something. I found that doctors would even be better at explaining things in depth when he was in the room. When I hear people struggling with this illness and their relationships, my first recommendation is to have that person join you at your appointment. Your physician should not care, and should even welcome the extra support. My first appointment with my current neurotologist (yes, it’s a word autocorrect) I brought my mother and my husband in the room with me. They had to bring in extra chairs! Since my husband has a sweet-tooth he desperately tries to hide, this was the perfect treat for him.
Clafouti is traditionally made with black cherries (with the pits still in!) but is wonderful with any in-season fruit. I used the Harry & David Royal Riviera Pears, but you could also use Bartlett as the recipe recommends. Clafouti batter is like a pancake batter that becomes very custard-like once baked. The key is to let the batter sit before you cook it to avoid a tough, chewy consistency. Because there isn’t much flour in this, you can easily make it gluten free by substituting the flour of your choice. It can also be challenging to find heavy cream without carrageenan in it. Organic brands are usually better about not using it. I used Horizon Organic. We served this with McConnell’s vanilla ice cream but fresh whipped cream is also a great option.
Adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature I used Kerrygold
- 1/3 cup + 1tbsp granulated sugar
- 3 extra large eggs at room temperature
- 6 tbsp all-purpose flour Can sub gluten free
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream I saw some people subbed half&half but have not tried myself
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp pear juice (no additives)
- 2-3 firm Bartlett (or green) pears
- Optional: powdered sugar or fresh whipped cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10 inch round baking dish. You could also use a large cast iron pan or a pie dish here. Sprinkle the bottom and sides with the extra tbsp of granulated sugar.
Beat the eggs and the 1/3 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the flour, cream, vanilla extract, salt, and pear juice. Set aside for at least 10 minutes, but up to 30 minutes is ok.
Meanwhile, peel, quarter, core, and slice the pears. Arrange the slices in a single layer, slightly fanned out, in the baking dish. Pour the batter over the pears and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, 35 to 40 minutes. Mine took closer to 45 but I used a smaller, deep dish and had other things baking in the oven as well.
Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with powdered sugar or whipped cream.