At the market last week there were these huge bins of pears. They were all so beautiful in jewel tones of ruby, emerald and topaz, I couldn’t resist buying way more than we needed. Where some have a weakness for jewelry or an addiction to well-made handbags, I have a thing for pears. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate the craftsmanship of an Hermès Kelly bag, or that I would turn down a diamond if offered, but there is something so aesthetically satisfying in a bowl overflowing with pears. Like a Baroque era still life, I love to have big bowls of seasonal fruit sitting in the centre of the table and on the counter tops. It’s part of the ever-changing landscape of our kitchen. The thing about pears, though, is, like avocados, they ripen and then turn in the blink of an eye. When I saw that they were getting a little soft, I whipped together a quick batter of eggs, flour and cream, and made this pear clafoutis. It’s a delicious way to keep them from going to waste if you happened to have overindulged a bit at the market.
Traditional Clafoutis is a flan-like custard, studded with summer cherries, but I think it’s a wonderful way to use any seasonal fruit. I added a pinch of cardamom for a spicy contrast to the sweet pears. And a splash of rum to make it feel festive. I topped each slice with a fluffy cloud of whipped mascarpone cheese. It’s a more sophisticated alternative to whipped cream – not as sweet with cool tang.
Pear Clafoutis with Whipped Mascarpone
- 2 pears, Anjou or Bartlett
- 1/3 cup sugar, divided
- 1 tsp butter
- 3 eggs
- 3/8 cup (6 TBSP) flour
- 1 1/2 cup cream
- 2 TBSP rum
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
Butter a deep-dish, 9-inch (approx. 23-cm) pie pan. Sprinkle with a little of the sugar, turning and tapping the pan so that the sugar coats the sides and bottom.
Peel, core and thinly slice the pears. Set aside.
Set aside one tablespoon of the sugar – place the rest in a medium mixing bowl. Add the eggs and whisk until light and fluffy. Add the flour, cream, vanilla, cardamom, rum and salt. Beat until smooth. Set aside.
Arrange the pears in overlapping circles in the prepared pan. Pour the egg mixture over top, being careful not to disturb the pears. Give the pan a few taps on the counter to make sure there aren’t any air bubbles. Place on a sheet pan and bake in the preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes, until the edges are brown and the center is set.
Let the clafoutis cool in the pan. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Top each slice with a dollop of whipped mascarpone. See recipe below.
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 TBSP confectioner’s sugar
Place the mascarpone, cream and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat, using an electric hand mixer, until light and fluffy. Serve with the clafoutis.