Time for tea: claufoti(s)
In Russian we call it poldnik, which literally means ‘noon meal’ but I think that name was based on back in the day when people got up a lot earlier! Really, this is ‘tea’, that meal in between lunch and dinner that is meant to tide you over. We even had it in school and kindergarden and it was always my favorite. You could have something sweet or savory with your tea (milk/compote/juice).
In France, they have something similar called the quatre heures (four o’clock) and, obviously, here in England there is five o’clock tea time though that does not always necessarily constitute a substantial snack with the tea.
In the spirit of this – now established – worldwide phenomenon, I decided to make claufotis today, the perfect afternoon snack. I didn’t have any cherries so I decided to try making it with lightly poached pears and it turned out beautifully. Claufotis is sort of the foolproof dessert that doesn’t require a lot of effort or preparation, which also works out well for spontaneous tea preparations. You can use all kinds of berries or apples or pears. I’ve seen lots of recipes using clementines too though those never last long enough in this house to bake anything with them!
The base recipe I used comes from my well-used and certainly well-loved copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. You can’t really see it in this picture, but it’s all taped together.
You will need:
- 1 cup milk + 1/4 cup poaching liquid (for the pears I used some leftover mulled wine to which I also added some pear and orange peel)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- a pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup flour
- 3 firm-ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
Preheat the oven to 350 F or approximately 175 C. Poach the pears for about an hour. It’s better if you prep the poaching liquid beforehand.
In the order of the listed ingredients above, combine and blend the batter with a hand mixer or in a blender. In an easy batter like this one, I would usually blend ingredients by hand/with a spoon or whisk but this one resembles a pancake batter and would come out a bit lumpy if you didn’t properly blend it.
Once you blend in the poaching liquid, you get something that looks like purple milk!
Pour a thin layer into the baking dish you a planning to use and heat it up on the stovetop for about 2 minutes so that you get a nice base like with an omelet.
Then layer the fruit all over the dish, the more the better. It doesn’t have to look very pretty, but it probably will be anyway:).
Pour the remaining batter over the pears and bake for about 40-50 minutes. The claufotis will brown and puff up a bit like a souffle. It will deflate pretty quickly though that won’t affect its taste at all.
Best served warm. Enjoy your afternoon snack!