Sunday, July 26, 2015


With cherries still on the trees in the backyard, I decided to try a new dessert recipe.  A clafoutis is of French origin and originates from the Limousin region of France.  It is a baked dessert that traditionally uses black cherries that are not pitted.  The cherries are placed on the bottom of a baking dish and the flan like batter is poured over.  A final dusting of sugar is sprinkled over the batter before baking.  I like to pit the cherries before baking with them and did so with this recipe.

The batter is based on a crepe batter and has more eggs and less flour than a cake batter.  Other fruit besides cherries could be used.   I was in a hurry making this recipe and I forgot to add the milk.  It still tasted good.  Since I used a heaping 4 cups of pitted sour cherries, I added another egg and a bit more flour.   Instead of sugar I used splenda.  I baked the dessert in the oven using the convection option so I baked it for 40 minutes and I reduced the oven temperature to 350 degrees F for the last five minutes.  The DH thought this clafoutis was delicious even without the milk in the batter. 

Ready to go into the oven.  I sprinkled some splenda on top of the batter before put the dish in the oven.

Just out of the oven.  You can see the white specks from the splenda on top of the cooked batter.  
Cherry Clafoutis


1 ¼ pounds (about 4 cups pitted) sweet cherries
3 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/3 cup whole or lowfat milk

Softened butter, for greasing the baking dish.


Preheat the oven to 375ºF.   Smear a 2-quart shallow baking dish liberally with butter.   Lay the cherries in the bottom of the baking dish.

In a standard blender, or using an immersion blender in a bowl or a mixmaster, mix the eggs, flour, vanilla and almond extracts, ½ cup sugar, and milk together until smooth.

Pour the batter over the cherries and sprinkle the fruit and batter with the 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Bake the clafoutis until the batter is just set for about 45 minutes.

Serve warm or cold.  Makes eight servings.

Recipe adapted from

Sunday, July 19, 2015


This past weekend I read a commentary by Rob Walker in the New York Times ("my digital cemetery") about all of the digital contacts he has acquired over the years.  His list of over 2700 contacts stretches over two decades including those recorded on his first palm pilot.  His contact list runs the gamut from work to personal to home repairs.  He has not edited his contact list over the years and he is not in communication with all of these 2700 people.  Some contacts have moved on, there is no longer any more need for a connection to this contact, the person has died, residences and geographic locations have changed or numbers have simply changed.  He did focus on his commentary about keeping the contact information for friends who have passed away.

His commentary got me thinking about my own experiences.   I have some old address books that includes information on people that I have not had contact with in years.  I even carry around a slim address book in my purse that lists telephone numbers and addresses for people that I have lost communication with, whose ties to me no longer exist for a variety of reasons.  I have not updated this address book by erasing these written names and their coordinates.  This book dates back to before I had a phone or a computer with an address app.  When necessary, I add names to the written address book as required.  And at home, I still have a traditional address book with alphabetical tabs that includes old and new home addresses and phone numbers that I use when sending out greeting cards during the course of the year.  

There are also names with contact information of friends and family who have passed away in my written and my electronic address books.  I see these names with their cell numbers and email addresses as I scan my books for other contacts.  I simply can't erase their contact information.  At the start of this calendar year, two friends of mine passed away within a short time span to each other.   I have all of their contact information on my various electronic tools.  I know their cell numbers and email addresses are not connected anymore but it doesn't matter.  Having their contact logistics creates a feeling for me that they are still part of my everyday life.  I recently had to change my cell phone and I was worried about losing the text messages with the dates and time of day from my girlfriend who passed away in January.  With assistance from the IT support person, we transferred this data to my new phone.  

I thought I may be a bit quirky wanting to keep all of the contact information from friends who have passed away but in Rob Walker's commentary he also talks about this very issue.  He gives examples of other people who have kept their contacts lists intact with logistics of people who have passed away.  We all want to keep traces of people who we have loved and admired in our lives.  Now if I can only figure out a way to send text messages and emails to heaven cyberspace.

Sunday, July 12, 2015


As soon as the DH saw the full page of recipes in the newspaper for one bowl cake recipes, his heart was set on having one of these for dessert on the weekend.  There were four different recipes but he settled on the blueberry crumb cake.  This is a crumb cake that has a lot of crumbs, it is not just a smattering of crumbs.  There is more flour in the crumb layer than the cake layer.  The crumb layer also has a cup of melted butter which made me first gulp.  I was already calculating the calories in my head.  I compromised by using Splenda instead of sugar in the cake and batter layers.  I didn't have unsweetened shredded coconut so I used sweetened coconut flakes.  I used 9" X 11" pan which worked out fine.  The crumb cake was of course delicious and I am sure I will be making the other three recipes over the next few months.

First layer done, blueberries scattered over the cake batter.

Crumb batter placed over the cake layer and now ready for baking.

Ready for sampling.


Cake Layer:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp oil
1 large egg at room temperature
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
5 tbsp blueberry, blackberry or current jam or spread
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Crumb Topping:

2 3/4 cps flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp pur vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tbsp melted butter


Line a 9" X 9" pan with parchment paper that is butter or oiled.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Using parchment paper makes it easier to get the cake out of the pan.

Making the cake layer:
Into a medium to large size bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Combine well.  Add the oil, egg, vanilla and milk to the bowl and mix well.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Use a spatula to scape down the sides of the bowl to get any batter clinging to the sides and add to the pan.  Drop each tablespoon of the blueberry jam over the top of the cake batter and swirl it into the batter using a table knife.  Scatter the blueberries over the top of the batter.

Making the crumb topping:
Use the same bowl that the batter was mixed in.  Combine the flour, brown sugar, coconut, cinnamon and salt.  Add the vanilla and melter butter and mix well using a wooden spoon.  The mixture should appear like climbs.  Scatter the crumbs of the batter and make sure that the batter is completely covered.  You don't need to press down on the crumbs.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.  The centre should be firm. Place on a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Makes 9 to 12 squares depending on how large you cut the squares.   

Adapted from Karen Barnaby, The Vancouver Sun.