26 January 2009

Tartine's Cherry Clafoutis

Clafoutis aux Cerises
Cherry Clafoutis (with title)
AGAIN with the long delays! I'm nearing the end of my interview tour-- just one more to go in Pennsylvania-- then I'm off to read the posts I so sorely miss. Just wanted to get this one out.
Books, and cookbooks in particular, can get incredibly expensive. Unless you're the type who has patience for the $5 bin where books the likes of "50 Low-Fat Desserts" written by Anonymous languish, you probably suffer through rows and rows of books that cost anywhere between $25 and $50. I suppose the higher cost is justified by the beautiful color plates (an antiquated term, heh) that pictures of food require, hardbound construction, and sturdy pages. Factor in the losses you get from the cookbook fanatic with grubby hands who rips the plastic carelessly (ha ha), and a smaller audience compared to Oprah's book club, and you have even higher costs. (Though in fairness, there are VERY good books in the $25 or less range, you just have to look hard.)

With prices like these, it would be a shame to not use the books, as that is of course where you get the value of your money. And it is finally decided if the book is ultimately worth it and has paid for itself, or if you might as well have burned your fresh $50. Which is why I'm proud of my project with Duncan-- The Gastronomer's Bookshelf-- because various people are able to share their experiences with cookbooks, and not only do readers get to determine what is gold and what is crap before spending the dough, but also, hopefully in the long term, writers and publishers will churn out better and better product.
The Gastronomer's Bookshelf
One of the books I'm currently (mostly) cooking through is the beautifully produced Tartine cookbook, which I got for sale in Manila as it was slightly worn. And really, isn't that the measure of a truly good cookbook? Lisa invited me to bake a bunch of set recipes with her to encourage her to use the cookbook, and I wanted to maximize it as well. (We are not however cooking through it like the guys and gals from Tuesdays with Dorie or Shari's Whisk Wednesdays.) For this month, we started with Clafoutis, as Lisa is Australian and cherries are in season. I got mine imported from Hong Kong/ Australia.

The verdict? Very delicious. Must have eaten half of my cast-iron pan's worth. (By the way, Lodge Cabin, excellent product. First time I used it, the eggy goodness came right off.) Even my brother who typically shuns fruit (berries and cherries in particular) enjoyed his share. Though Tartine recommends pitting the cherries, I decided to keep them in for tradition. My only gripe with the recipe was that it didn't brown the way it looked in the book (my pervasive problem with the cookbook in general), and mine took a little longer to bake.

Now, do you have a particular cookbook you've tried and tested, respected or rejected? I would love to hear your thoughts on what you've dog-eared. (I wonder if any of you will name Tartine like Lisa or I would.) And I hope you guys will eventually share your experience with your cookbook you love (or love to hate) by writing a review on The Gastronomer's Bookshelf! (check out my review of Barefoot Contessa's Back to Basics cookbook :P )
Cherry Clafoutis (close)
Since I'm a bit pressed for time, I'm just going to link to Lisa's beautiful version of this clafoutis for the recipe from Tartine. See you guys hopefully very soon!

This recipe is again from one of my favorite cookbooks, Tartine. I recently reviewed it over at The Gastronomer's Bookshelf, finally!

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