After spending the weekend driving up and down mountains in the Catskills, crossing rivers with names like Beaverkill and Deepkill, where flyfishermen waded in the sparkling water, and eating a late breakfast at Sweet Sue’s in Phoenicia—a destination breakfast spot for Brooklynites, where we had inch-thick mixed berry pancakes with maple syrup, poppyseed swirled challah French toast, lox-scrambled eggs, bacon, and iced lattes out at a sunny streetside table with Chris and Kate and baby Chloe—the day before Aaron and Kelly’s pastoral wedding, we drove east through the Berkshires to Boston.
The roadsign names and route numbers flashed childhood drives through my memory: visits to the grandparents outside Hartford, field trips to time-capsuled Sturbridge Village, highschool jaunts to the thrift stores and coffee shops of Northampton.
We stopped at a rest area on the Mass Pike, which was having a small farmers’ market. There were two tables: one full of odd pesto medleys, soaps, and knick-nacks, the other stocked with blueberries and strawberries. I bought some blueberries, and we snacked on them for the rest of the drive. (Not organic, but infinitely better than anything else at the rest area.)
We still had a container of Deborah’s berries, too, so that night I decided to throw together a blueberry dessert of some sort. I was dreaming of buckle, but felt far too unmotivated to make a multi-step cake. The solution for a last minute, lazy sweet-tooth? Clafoutis!
The dessert from the Limousin region of France is traditionally made with fresh unpitted cherries, (which reminds me of a trip Peter and I took to the Dordogne region of France, where we stopped at the most amazing country restaurant, Le Temps des Cerises…) but it lends itself well to fruit substitutions. This recipe is an adaptation of Julia Child’s. The combination of big cultivated blueberries, the small ones from Kenoza Lake, and the more tart huckleberries was delicious, and pretty, too.
1/3 c. sugar
¾ c. milk
¾ c. cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
1/8 tsp. salt
½ c. flour
3 c. blueberries
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 10-inch tart pan or cast iron pan, and sprinkle sugar to coat. Pour in blueberries, in one layer. With an electric mixer, beat eggs until foamy, then add sugar and continue mixing until thick and foamy. Gradually add the flour. Meanwhile, combine cream, vanilla, almond extract, and salt in a small bowl. Mix these ingredients with the egg mixture. Pour over the blueberries. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until it sets and is golden brown. Dust with powdered sugar, and serve.