When I was younger, on a autumnal Sunday, my mother would take my younger brother and I for a walk to the nearest park. She would take a small wicker basket with her and then, we automatically knew we were going to pick wild blackberries. At the time, the town where I am from in France was not as big as it today. You would walk ten minutes and be in the 'country'. We would come back home really proud of our treasure, our hands purple with the juice of blackberries (and sometimes our mouths as we could not resist eating them on the way). My mother used to make delicious jams with them, so nice on crusty bread and butter for breakfast!
(Now, the town has become quite big and lots of houses were built all around it and sadly, the many bushes of blackberries do not exist anymore.)
So I stayed home to finish a bit of photography work and update my virtual shop. As editing photos can be quite intense at times, I was getting really hungry. And I was craving something rustic. Rustic like a nice ploughman's sandwich and a berry and nuts dessert.
I had some nice blackberries around (it is the season after all!). So I decided to use them in a clafoutis, and created a nice hazelnut sugar to sprinkle on top. So lovely, warm and comforting!
10g unsalted butter and 1 tbsp caster sugar (for the mould)
For the batter
125g plain flour
3 large free range eggs
20g melted unsalted butter
80g caster sugar
75g double cream
(optional: a few drops of vanilla essence)
For the hazelnut sugar
50g chopped hazelnuts
20g caster sugar
1. Butter a tart mould (20 to 25cm diameter). Sprinkle with a tablespoon of caster sugar, coat the dish evenly and tap the excess out. Place it in the fridge while you are making the batter.
(As you can see from the photos, I used silicone tartlet moulds. You would need 6 to 8 of them depending on how deep they are. Also, despite the fact they are made of silicone, I still went on with the process of buttering and sprinkling with sugar as it creates a lovely thin crust at the bottom of the clafoutis.)
2. Preheat your oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan).
Put the eggs and the sugar in a large bowl and mix them well together with a whisk. Add in the flour and continue whisking delicately.
In a small pan, bring the milk to the boil. Then, pour it over the batter while whisking continuously. (I usually place a wet tea towel, rolled in a crown, under the bowl as it helps using both hands for pouring and whisking at the same time.)
Add the butter and cream (and the vanilla essence if you feel like adding it). Mix well until your batter is nice and smooth.
Spread the blackberries on the bottom of the tart mould. Pour the batter over the fruits.
While the clafoutis is baking, make the hazelnut sugar.
Pound the chopped hazelnuts using a pestle and mortar until you get a fine crumb. Mix in with the sugar and set aside.
3. Leave the clafoutis in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes. When putting a skewer or a sharp knife blade through it, it should come out clean if the clafoutis is properly cooked. The top should be golden to dark brown.
(As I used smaller moulds, it took 25 minutes, but please be aware that cooking times may vary depending on your oven.)
Remove your cake and leave to cool down a bit.
When it is lukewarm, sprinkle the hazelnut sugar on top. It is ready to eat!
Most people will eat with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a bit of whipped cream. I personally prefer it on its own.