Easy, delicious, and endlessly adaptable, a flaugnarde is one of my favorite simple summer desserts. Don’t worry if the name sounds intimidating. The custard, as easy as making a dutch baby and a relative of the just as simple clafoutis, is much simpler to make than its name suggests. A pan is buttered, fruits are halved, a one bowl, pancake-like batter is poured over the fruit and voila! After half an hour in the oven, the flaugnarde emerges custardy, bronzed, and with dramatically puffy edges. The fruit sighs, sinks and gets juicy in the oven, releasing all of its flavor and sweetness, and the whole thing is sweet, simple and dusted with a bit of confectioner’s sugar for glamour.
I make my flaugnarde batter with spelt flour. Its lower gluten content works perfectly here, where it isn’t needed to create a strong, bouncy dough but rather a soft, spoonable custard. Some recipes call for milk in the batter but I prefer to use heavy cream. I find it lends a silkier texture to the dish and leftovers are delicious when whipped softly and served over the flaugnarde. The vanilla bean here is used twice: its seeds are mixed into the custard and the spent, flavor-rich bean is baked right into the flaugnarde, which it flavors and perfumes throughout.
This is truly as simple as making pancake batter, but ever-more rewarding. I love it with plums (experiment with Reine Claude or Italian prune varieties!) and sweet tart apricots. I’ve made it with cherries and kirsch for a traditional clafoutis. And I’ve served it for both breakfast and dessert.
Always on call to make use of summer’s beauty, dependent only on fruit and fridge basics, flaugnarde has become my new summer staple, and I think you’ll love it enough to make it yours, too.
- 4-5 ripe red plums, halved and pitted
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean, halved
- 1/2 cup spelt flour
- confectioner’s sugar, to garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round pie or tart pan. Place plum halves, cut side up, evenly over bottom of buttered pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, nutmeg and sugar until light and frothy. Add the heavy cream, seeds of the vanilla bean, and flour and whisk until smooth. Pour the batter into the pan around the plums.
- Top the batter with the halved, spent vanilla beans. Bake the flaugnarde in the middle rack of the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and puffed up.
- Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and serve warm, with softly whipped cream if desired.