Camp Stove Clafoutis
You don’t need to speak French to make this classic fruit custard, which is pronounced kla-FOO-tee and isn’t as precious as it sounds. Nor do you need an oven—just a propane flame (or glowing campfire embers) and a skillet with a tight-fitting lid or piece of foil. The simple and versatile technique works for any kind of stone fruit or berries, even frozen, which lets you pull the whole thing together in minutes. Serve clafoutis warm or chilled for a light dessert (after say, a Mexican meal) or as the centerpiece of a festive breakfast.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1½ pound ripe plums (just for an example)
6 tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cardamom
- Rinse and dry the fruit and pack it in a towel so it doesn’t get crushed. Refrigerate.
- Make sure you’ve packed the 6 tablespoons butter and 4 eggs you’ll need for this recipe, either alone or with whatever other butter and eggs you’re bringing on this trip.
- Measure the sugar into a small airtight container. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom in another airtight container.
- Halve the plums, remove the pits, and cut each half into three or four pieces. (If you’re using other fruit, trim and seed it as needed and either leave it whole or cut it into chunks or wedges no bigger than ½ inch thick.)
- Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat. When it foams, add the plums, and cook, stirring once or twice, until they soften and their skins just begin to curl and separate, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, beat the eggs and sugar together with a whisk or fork until they’re lemon-colored. Fold in the flour mixture, stirring until it’s just combined.
- Give the plums a final stir and spread them out into a single layer in the pan. Pour the batter all around the fruit; give the pan a little shake to even everything out. (It’s okay if some pieces of fruit are sticking up here and there.) Cover the pan tightly and return to the camp stove, keeping the heat at medium-low.
- Cook, resisting the urge to peek, until you start to see a little steam escaping from the skillet, 20 to 30 minutes. As the clafouti cooks, adjust the heat to make sure it’s progressing without scorching. (Get close to the pan: it should always sizzle slightly and smell like warm caramel, not burning toast.) Once you see the steam, uncover the pan and continue cooking until the edges separate from the pan and the center is almost set, but still a little jiggly, another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat to cool for a few minutes, then cut into wedges or scoop from the pan by the spoonful.
Wrap leftover wedges well and pack them back on ice for a quick and portable breakfast or snack.
The fruit here can be as high-brow as fresh cubed mango or as down-to-earth as a big bag frozen blueberries. If you’re using frozen, make sure it’s unsweetened. But there’s no need to fuss with thawing: Just toss the fruit into the skillet with the melted butter and cook until it warms a bit. (If it’s super juicy, you’ll want to drain the liquid off and save it for drizzling, or drinking.) And speaking of drizzling, consider packing maple syrup or caramel sauce to warm and spoon on top.