Sunday, January 24, 2010

you butter you batter you bet

The latest batch of damson gin was long overdue for decanting, so I took advantage of a quiet night in on Friday to do it. Two litre bottles and (nearly) two 70cl ones, so that should keep us going for a while. Note the splendid bespoke labels that Hazel got one of her printing contacts to make up for me for Christmas.

Having decanted all the gin I was left with a load of gin-soaked fruit. Unlike the sloes, which, once you've used them for the gin, are pretty much useless for anything else (since nothing you can do to them will make them nice to eat), you can re-use the damsons, though you do need to stone them, which is a bit of a chore. Note: on no account should you stone the damsons before making the gin, as the pleasantly tart almondy taste you get comes from cyanide compounds leaching out of the stones (this is why cyanide legendarily smells of bitter almonds), though not in quantities sufficient to do any harm (well, certainly not compared to the alcohol in the gin, anyway).

When I made the last lot of damson gin we made the leftover damsons into a crumble - this is great, but the layer of crumble mix over the top of the damsons doesn't leave much scope for the soaked-in alcohol to evaporate. So you end up with a fierily alcoholic crumble you can get pissed on one portion of, not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, of course. So what I was looking for this year was something that would expose the damsons to the elements a bit more; here's what I came up with:

Damson clafoutis

Firstly, I should point out that I didn't make this up in my head; I have a few recipe books that I got a basic recipe out of. Interestingly, I had some trouble finding a recipe originally as I was convinced that it was spelt "chlafoutis", presumably because I'd assumed it was Greek or something like that. It's French, as it happens, the reason it doesn't look particularly French as written being because it's derived from a word in the old Occitan language.

Anyway - I have little patience for desserts, so this one appeals to me because it's very simple; you just make up some batter, pour it over the fruit and stick it in the oven for three-quarters of an hour or so. It's a sort of fruit-in-the-hole, if you will. Here's what you'll need:
  • 50g plain flour
  • 120g sugar
  • 5 eggs (note: most of the recipes say 4 eggs plus two yolks, so if you can be bothered with all the separating business, knock yourself out)
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pint of milk (note: on no account use a pinch of milk and a pint of salt; it'll be really grim)
Put the fruit in a big flat dish. At this point remember that you were supposed to grease the dish. Shrug and forget about it. (Note: it's worth remembering to do this. The original recipe also suggested adding a bit of melted butter to the batter; up to you).

No fancy mixing or folding in required here, just throw all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz them for a few seconds. Then pour the batter over the fruit.

Stick it in the oven for 45-55 minutes. Dust a bit of icing sugar over the top, serve (with varying degrees of difficulty depending on whether you remembered to grease the dish or not) warm with some ice cream or something. Nice.


Richard T said...

My sister in law sticks the used sloes from her sloe gin into cheap sweet sherry and leaves them for a further couple of months. The sloeish sherry is pretty nice - better than a sloe clafoutie anyway.

electrichalibut said...

Recycling: highly commendable. I was intending using the blackberries for something tart-y after they'd been soaking in vodka, but they were so juicy that by the time I took them out (after no more than 3 weeks or so) they'd gone almost white.