Come summer, each and every trip to the farmers’ market results in me lugging home an almost ridiculous amount of fresh fruit – pints of strawberries, watermelons so big and heavy I can barely carry them by myself, apricots so ripe they only just about survive the 15 minute walk home from the market in one piece.
And every single trip starts with the best intentions. The strawberries will be turned into jam, maybe so I can finally make use of that jar of overpriced Tonka beans I picked up at a Delicatessen near my office. Those raspberries? They would be lovely if turned into raspberry and rose scones. And the apricots will most definitely be turned into a pie. Yet while I keep a ridiculously long list of recipe ideas and flavour combinations to try on my phone, when it comes to summer’s bounty, few of these ideas ever get tested.
Turning on the oven or switching on the stove when temperatures are finally comfortably in the mid-20s is just not very enticing. Also, most of summer’s bounty really tastes best fresh. The less these fruits are tinkered with the better. Raspberries, squashed ever so lightly with the tins of a fork, folded into softly whipped, sweetened, cream and stuffed between the two halves of profitelores the way my grandma makes them, strawberries macerated for as long as dinner takes with just a little bit of sugar, served with crème fraiche and some freshly ground pepper and a shortbread finger or two, juicy figs squashed between two slices of freshly baked pizza Bianca with some prosciutto.
But apricots? They are my one exception. As much as I love them, apricots can do with, in fact need, a little tinkering. And heat. The mealiest and flattest tasting apricot will become deliciously juicy, sweet but with a slight tartness, if exposed to some heat, whether poached in a spiced syrup, folded into scone dough or studding a clafoutis. So much so that I don’t even mind turning on the oven for them.
Apricot Cornmeal and Buttermilk Clafoutis
Notes: Clafoutis is the kind of thing of dessert that is super simple to pull off and that you can enjoy any time of the day. If I am having it for breakfast, I tend to enjoy it as is, maybe with a little dusting of icing sugar if I used very tart fruit. While apricot clafoutis may be my favourite type of clafoutis, clafoutis works equally well with other stone fruits (cherries are more traditional in fact). If you want to replace the apricots with very juicy fruits like cherries or blueberries, increase the eggs to 6 to ensure the clafoutis will still set.
Pinch of salt
500g apricots, halved with the stone removed
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and grease a pie dish generously with butter.
In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs and honey until the frothy. Pour in the buttermilk and whisk to combine. Lastly, fold in the polenta and the pinch of salt.
Pour the batter into the pie dish and carefully sit the halved apricots, cut side up, in the batter. Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until the clafoutis is puffed up and the centre is just set.
The clafoutis will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.