clafouti and an open apology to eric ripert

August 20th, 2008 · 41 Comments

a clafouti as deflated as my ego…

dear mr. ripert,

i am a long time fan of le bernardin and an avid reader of your new blog, avec eric. i eagerly await the new book being released this autumn and may i also take this opportunity to tell you that i absolutely adore ‘a return to cooking’ and would have to say that it is without a doubt the most beautiful cook book that i own. 

i think you’d be pleased to know that because of you i purchased the cuisinart brick oven, if only to cook along, through a simple but perfect array of dishes that you yourself appear to thoroughly enjoy.  of course watching you cook while listening to your ever so incredibly sexy french accent…  well, all i can say is that the people at cuisinart are marketing genuises.

so i grill my tomatoes, bake and broil my fish – among many other things, and tonight i decided to finally make the clafouti as i had just bought a batch of tart blackberries at the farmers market this past weekend.  the thing is, i only had 2% milk.  eric (may i call you eric?), i drink my coffee black and well, i just didn’t want to head out to the store for a pint of 1/2 and 1/2 that would most likely turn bad after i used my 6 tablespoons.  big, big miscalculation on my part. 

i suppose i don’t have to tell you what my clafouti tasted like because naturally, if you are reading this you are making the same face that i did upon taking my first bite.  it was that nearly inedible low fat version of what might have been a wonderful dessert if i’d so much as followed your directions.  i say nearly because as a woman in my 40’s i am guilty of eating substandard foods on occasion in the name of vanity and valiant attempts at zipping my jeans – but this was no place to skimp on a few fat grams.  so my clafouti was permeated by ‘that taste’ that is devoid of all that it could have and should have been. 

so eric, when you wrote "its consistency will lie somewhere between a custard and a cake. smooth, moist, silky with a slight crisp of the crust."  mine was kind of rubbery, devoid of anything that could ever be construed as silky.  and for this i am sorry because i should have just listened to you.  afterall it’s not like you even asked us to use heavy cream.  you were being moderate, just like a true frenchman would.

i knew better, eric.  i really did.
but mostly, i believe that i have learned from the error of my ways…


claudia of ceF




Tags: bad · baking · fruit

41 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jim voorhies // Aug 20, 2008 at 9:11 am

    his version does look a little fluffier and cheeriere, but ten he used raspberries. i learned the hard way that you have to have the fat content for things to work sometimes. You can’t make alfredo sauce with 1% or 2% or whole milk either.

  • 2 Robert // Aug 20, 2008 at 9:35 am


    Grandma smiles……

    We found cans of evaporated milk hidden in every possible nook of the cupboard……..

  • 3 cookiecrumb // Aug 20, 2008 at 10:45 am

    It LOOKS good.

  • 4 Kitt // Aug 20, 2008 at 10:53 am

    Wouldn’t it be nice if some ingredients were sold in the tiny quantities we needed?

    But getting extra cream is never a hardship for me; I can usually come up with some way to use the rest of it, if only adding it to my scrambled eggs, or even making ice cream.

    If you walk to the store to get it, you can tell yourself you’re being virtuous, too.

  • 5 Diana // Aug 20, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Hooray for black coffee! I give myself a treat when I buy half-and-half just for a recipe, just to use up the rest: rich iced coffee and killer white russians.

  • 6 Kim // Aug 20, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Claudia, you are a scream. I drink my coffee black as well, but being that I am working hard on this Southern thing-I always have heavy and 1/2 and 1/2 on hand.

    Zipping jeans, heck- seeing that I am in my 50’s, I am always trying to get mine up over my hips.

    You need to really make things up to Eric and make another Clafoutis, because frankly I don’t think he will forgive you unless you do.

  • 7 arundathi // Aug 20, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Just made this yesterday. Fabulous!!! Do try it again with the half and half – its soooo worth it!

  • 8 christey // Aug 20, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    oh no! heheh but it does look really really good…

  • 9 Julie // Aug 20, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Does it make you feel any better that the picture of your clafoutis was better than the picture of his clafoutis?

  • 10 patsyk // Aug 20, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    I hate having to buy a big container of something just for a small amount… but, when it comes to baking it generally is worth it. Bummer that yours didn’t turn out. I did enjoy reading your letter to Eric Ripert!

  • 11 Lauren // Aug 20, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    That is hysterical! Though not as funny as when you poured your earl gray tea into a random cake recipe. At least it looks pretty!

  • 12 MangerLaVille // Aug 20, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    How many cookbook authors and chefs I would like to write letters to…so many. But most of the time they are rants. And then I realized it is my fault.

  • 13 Nicole // Aug 20, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    It looks good though.

  • 14 dm0c0mmie // Aug 20, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Bon soir, Claudia:

    This is Charles (pronounced “Shaaaarlzzzz” ) Mr. democommie’s inner frenchman. Some know me as democommie’s “liberal conscience” but they do not know how much I long for truly good cuisine. democommie, he tries, but…well, an “Oreo souffle”, I ask you?

    This clafoutis (which he mislabels, “kaflooie”) is a wonderful dish, but not without the cream. Never worry about the butter fat content of what you are eating; a short walk– to , say Cleveland–and you are done with all of that caloricguilt.

    I must go, I think democommie has finished his “Oreo souffle” (cest la merde!!) and is now looking for the two pound box of after dinner mints that he stashed in the freezer.

    au revoir

    Charles (pronounced “Shhhhhhhharlz”)

  • 15 democ0mmie // Aug 20, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    This is what happens when I run an anti-virus scan. It makes me a little crazy and screwz up my stuff.

  • 16 Vicki // Aug 20, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Oh, please make this again with the fat! I made it a little while ago, and, while mine turned out funny-looking, they were delicious!

  • 17 joycooks // Aug 20, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    I think it’s the fault of the clafoutis, Claudia, and not yours or the missing fat. In my opinion the clafoutis is overrated. We even tried making them at work and they were totally underwhelming (in looks and taste) and didn’t sell. Maybe it’s because they belong in the pancake/breakfast category and not in the company of ‘real’ dessert. Or maybe it’s because I’ve never tried Eric Ripert’s clafoutis. c’est la vie.

  • 18 Brittany // Aug 20, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    The AUDACITY to replace half and half with milk. I hope you head is properly lowered in shame.

    I’ve actually done this to clafouti.

    But mine was with 1 % milk, in an attempt to make a “spur of the moment” sexy french breakfast. It was baaaaad. So, so, so very bad.
    I am feeling your pain and you did the right thing by immediately apologizing for it.

  • 19 maybelles mom (feeding maybelle) // Aug 20, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    very funny post. and we all suffer some vanities…

  • 20 melissa // Aug 21, 2008 at 1:33 am

    Oh yeah.. There are just some things that require certain other things. Yeah. Good job doing it though and making something I wouldn’t even be trying.

    Eric Ripert is the shizz. Pardon my French. HA. I’m sure he’d forgive ya. 😉

  • 21 TaratheFoodie // Aug 21, 2008 at 7:23 am

    Oh that brick oven is so cute! You could make little pizzas in there! I had never heard of that product before… very cool.

    Sorry to hear the dessert didn’t taste good – at least it looked good! :-)

  • 22 Mal Carne // Aug 21, 2008 at 8:40 am

    2% milk + boneless, skinless chicken breasts = 2 items that should never darken your doorstep. j/k

    Fat adds flavor. Fat adds texture. And, in the context of cyber-journalism, fat calories do not count. Although, I do have to admit that I’ve never been able to get on the clafouti band wagon, either.

  • 23 Jack // Aug 21, 2008 at 8:49 am

    It also appears that you used thornless blackberries. Those things are not worth eating in the first place. They have all the flavor bred out of them for the sake of size and lack of thorns. I can stomach grocery-store tomatoes in December better than those nasty turds. And considering all of the expensive foods you order from afar, would a half-pint of cream be so wasteful. It would keep for over a month and you surely could have sent the remainder home with one of your many dinner guests if you are sure it would not be used. I enjoy visiting your blog, but today Im pretty unimpressed.

  • 24 claudia // Aug 21, 2008 at 9:52 am

    gee jack

    I filed it under bad
    I said it sucked
    my blackberries were bought from the local farmers market so I assumed they were local and good…
    and I’m on a diet and am trying to stay away from cream

    why such an asshole jack?
    gotta problem with my lifestyle?

  • 25 evil chef mom // Aug 21, 2008 at 10:04 am

    oops jack, you are in trouble! don’t argue with claudia, she’ll come kick your ass… i know i have many scars… we keep fighting over bourdain.

    claudia… you should KNOW you don’t mess with any of eric’s recipes… there some sort of curse on them if you do. just listen to that sexy french accent it should have you hypnotized.

  • 26 ntsc // Aug 21, 2008 at 10:18 am

    What fun is a recipe if you can’t vary it?

    Although 2% was not the direction to go in. Have to ask my wife if we have that book, although the week coming up is not one to try and talk my wife into changing her menu.

    It is a doosy as her college roommate and husband are house guests for the week.

    I’ll be posting the semi-final version this afternoon.

  • 27 Jack // Aug 21, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Not nearly so much as you obviously have with my comment. Why attack me personally? I merely voiced my opinion and stand by it. I wrote that I enjoy visiting your blog and didnt resort to name calling as so many people do when their arguments run weak and lack validity. Local doesnt necessarily mean good. Im sorry for assuming you knew more about blackberries than you do. If you ever make the effort to try wild blackberries, maybe you will have a better understanding. Call me all the names you want if it makes you feel better. You appear to have a enviable lifestyle. Had I known that you are so sensitive about it, I wouldnt have bothered. Have a nice day!

  • 28 claudia // Aug 21, 2008 at 10:38 am

    jack – i apologize. sincerely. i’m used to getting attacked for my ingredients and being a ‘snob’ on another blog i frequent, and i was just assuming you were taking a swipe…

    my bad.

  • 29 Heather // Aug 21, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Y’know, it’s prolly not too late to just batter it and deep-fry it. That’d save it.

  • 30 Brittany // Aug 21, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    dude- does Jack really think a half pint of cream will last for over a month?


    Sorry to add fuel. I just had to jump in.

  • 31 Jack // Aug 21, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    It won’t last a month at my house, LOL but yes under refrigeration, and as long as mold isn’t growing on it, there’s nothing about it that will hurt you.

    Ever tried sour cream Brittany?

  • 32 Natalie // Aug 21, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    I applaud your effort despite your less-than perfect ingredient judgment. We all make these attempts to cut fat on occasion, because, let’s face it, we’re all vain. DAMN OUR DOUBLE X CHROMOSOMES! You’re still one up on me because I can’t get blackberries past my mouth to even attempt a recipe.

  • 33 Brittany // Aug 21, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Jack, all I know is that I’ve left a half pint of cream (opened, mind you) in my fridge for over a month, and the results were definantly not sour cream (which why yes, I have tried.)

    Perhaps my fridge just sucks (?)

    Claudia- you should totally retry this recipe! Clafoutis is one of life’s little pleasures…..Pretend Eric is feeding it to you….

  • 34 Donald // Aug 22, 2008 at 3:37 am

    Boy! This post, and the subsequent comment thread, is so what one wants in a post.

    Claudia, I know you know better. There is no sustitute for fat and the joy it brings.

    It looks really really good though.

  • 35 Jack // Aug 22, 2008 at 9:06 am

    Brittany, the cream must have picked up some spores or something. If you compare the length of the expiration dates, you will notice that cream has a longer freshness window than other dairy products. The cartons with a plastic screw-caps seem to last longer for me. Most bacteria dont like the high fat, but some of the bugs that do can get funky. Occasionally I make crme fraiche, and have been forced to abort a couple of times when something besides the buttermilk culture found its way into the batch.

  • 36 claudia // Aug 22, 2008 at 9:22 am

    i think the higher the fat, the longer it lasts. and yes, the screw caps do seem to work better – i agree. and i’ve noticed the organic brands – even the milks, last longer than the regular supermarket brand counterparts.

    so 1/2 and 1/2 may last twice as long as milk but half as long as full cream.

    and i am totally making this up… cause i have no real idea…

  • 37 Laura // Aug 22, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Shake it! My grandad used to make skim milk (which, don’t ask me why someone would drink that stuff…) last weeks and weeks just by giving it a shake whenever he got into the fridge. Of course, that would mean I’d shake my milk approximately 75 times a day. I’M JUST MAKING SURE EVERYTHING’S STILL IN THERE. GOSH. DON’T JUDGE ME.

    …anyway, it works.


  • 38 We Are Never Full // Aug 23, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    it takes a real woman to admit her mistakes – to eric ripert.

  • 39 democ0mmie // Aug 24, 2008 at 5:50 am

    Heavy cream can last for a long, long time if kept in a pretty cold reefer. If you want any dairy to last, keep it out of the door storage spaces.

    I wouldn’t recommend doing it, but I once brought a 1/2 gallon of 2% into the house, after it had sat for hours in the car (it was prolly 70 degrees in the car) and put it in the fridge. I drank it, it tasted fine, it kept for the normal amount of time (until it was gone). I think that is because it was pasteurized and had not been opened.

    BTW, with heavy cream, whether it will keep a long time isn’t usually a worry in my house.

  • 40 Julia // Sep 5, 2008 at 9:29 am

    I know I’m late jumping into this thread, but… if you buy “ultra-pasteurized” cream, it will last for a month. But if you buy regular ole homogenized, pasteurized milk or cream, it won’t. Some dairies also add extra preservatives to increase shelf life.

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