There is a strange subset of French cakes that is made using a particularly unusual method. While most of baking is all about lightening– making the batter fluffier, softer, airier- these particular desserts hold to the exact opposite philosophy. The usual ingredients- sugar, flour, eggs, milk- are whipped together in a blender. The entire point is to create a light, thin batter, without a whiff of an air-bubble in sight. This is then poured onto a hot griddle (crepes!) or into a cake mold (clafoutis!) and baked. The results are moist, delicate confections. And the blender is the perfect tool, because by its very design it sucks air out to create a vortex that rotates the ingredients (or ice and fruit). Which is good news for us, because it essentially deems these “one-bowl” recipes.
You see them in fancy shops for 9$ a piece, but you can make and fill them at home as easily as humble pancakes.
1 cup Cold Water
1 cup Cold Milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 and ½ cups flour
4 tablespoons melted butter
Put all of the ingredients in the blender, keeping out ½ of the milk, and blend on high for 1 minute, or until smooth. If bits of flour stick to the edge, stir them in with a spatula and blend. Check the consistency of the batter: it needs to be runny, but thick enough to make a pancake 1/16 inch thick.
Tap the blender jar a few times to knock out any bubbles. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes in the fridge. The flour needs to rest, and the air will dissipate while it sits.
In a hot 8-9 inch skillet, rub a tablespoon of butter until it coats the pan entirely. The pan should be very hot, almost smoking.
Pour ¼ cup of the batter into the center of the pan, quickly lift and tilt the pan in all directions to run the batter over the bottom of the pan. Let the cake cook for 60-80 seconds, before flipping with a spatula.
The first one is usually a dud, which is good ’cause it allows you to test the pan’s heat and the batter’s consistency. If the batter seems too runny, blend in few more tablespoons of flour. If it seems too thick, add more milk.
Crepe-making takes some practice, but over time the results make it worth the effort. This batter can be savory or sweet, so you can fill them with just about anything (cough, nutella).
A fancy, difficult word for cherry flan. This is an eggy, sweet tart that looks awesome with the cherries!
3 cups Pitted Bing Cherries
1 and ¼ cup milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon Vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup flour
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Place all the ingredients, minus 1/3 cup sugar and the cherries, into a blender and blend for 1 minute on high until smooth.
Pour ¼ cup batter into the bottom of a greased baking dish. Place in the oven for 1-2 minutes, until a film has formed on the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the cherries over the batter. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar over the cherries. Pour in the rest of the batter and smooth with a spoon.
Bake for 45-60 minutes, until a knife plunged into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool. Then drag a knife around the sides of the pan and flip the tart onto a dish. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately, slightly warm. (Or if you’re like me and forget to grease the dish, just eat it with a spoon right there!)
Post and Photo by Haley Herrinton.