As a kid, I’d hear adults say how much they loved Thanksgiving and that it was their favorite holiday. What? What about all of those other holidays that involve presents, people? I just assumed they must have really loved turkey and stuffing way more than I did.
So, fast forward…well, many years later, and here I am telling you that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. No, it’s not about the turkey for me and yes, I do love presents. Thanksgiving is just simple. It’s one day that brings us together. It makes us stop to think about all that we’re thankful for and realize that, even in the most awful times, there is always something to be thankful for. Always. Sometimes, you may have to think really hard and it may not hit you until the end of the day when you’ve taken that first blissful bite of pumpkin pie (or cranberry pear clafouti), but it’s there.
This year, I’m doing something I’ve never done before. I’m making a list of every single thing I can think of that I am grateful for. I’m going to hang it up near my desk and anytime I start bitching about nonsense, a talent I’ve mastered years ago, I’ll be reminded that I really need to shut my mouth.
Last week, I received a gorgeous gift of pears from one of my most favorite clients, Stemilt. I’ve been in pear heaven since. I knew I’d have to incorporate them into dessert…it is Thanksgiving, after all.
If you know me, you know that I like to keep desserts simple and easy. If you can beat some eggs and slice some pears, you can make this! A clafoutis is a traditional French dessert, classically made with cherries, baked in a light custardy batter. I’ve created a seasonal version balanced with sweet pears, tart cranberries with hints of cinnamon, vanilla and a touch of pear liqueur. Certainly not health food, but a clafoutis does not use much flour and I’ve reduced the amount of sweetener. As long as you use ripe pears that are sweet, you won’t need to add much sugar.
That list I’m going to write? It will certainly include being thankful for all of you. Every time you visit, leave me sweet comments or share my work on social media, it warms my heart. Happy Thanksgiving! Mmmwwwaaahhh!
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar or coconut palm sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or gluten-free all purpose flour
- 1½ cups milk (see Notes)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons pear liqueur or pear brandy
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fine kosher salt
- zest of half of a lemon
- confectioner's sugar for dusting
- 3 large ripe pears (see Notes)
- ½ cup fresh cranberries
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Butter a 10 inch round baking dish with the butter and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar over the bottom and sides of the dish. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium bowl, combine the eggs and the remaining sugar. Beat on medium high speed for about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.
- Add the flour, milk, vanilla, pear liqueur, cinnamon, salt and lemon zest. Beat on low speed just until combined. Allow the batter to sit while you prepare the pears or at least 15 minutes.
- Peel and halve the pears. Cut out the stem ends and core the center using a melon baller or a round measuring spoon. Slice the pear halves horizontally, in about ¼ inch slices. Slide your chef's knife, under the slices to easily move them to the prepared dish. Once all of the pears are sliced and arranged in the dish, sprinkle on the cranberries and pour the batter over the top.
- Bake the clafouti for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden on top.
- Remove from the oven. Dust with a bit of confectioner's sugar and serve warm.
I use Bosc pears purposely in this recipe because they are wonderfully sweet, very juicy and have an underlying cinnamon flavor, but you may want to try something like a Concord pear or Red D'andjou…both incredibly sweet.
Adapted from Pear Clafouti – Ina Garten