A Rant, A Rave, and a Flognarde

I can’t quite figure out why it takes 3 or 4 months to get Australian food magazines into the shops here in the States. One month, sure. I’d understand. I suppose normally, it doesn’t matter. There’s a new one each publishing period, and the seasons are out of sync anyway, so it doesn’t exactly matter if it was published months ago or is right up to date. Except when I want to wish the fine folks at one of my favorite food magazines, Gourmet Traveller, a Happy Anniversary after reading their 40th Birthday issue, and now it just sounds silly because it’s now November and the issue came out in August. But, despite the delay, this was an issue that I can’t help but to comment on.

To begin with, the issue contains one of the funniest articles I’ve ever read in a magazine, much less a food magazine. So funny that I forced my husband to sit through me reading it aloud to him, something I could barely do because I kept nearly crying from laughing too much. It’s almost as funny as a Bill Bryson story. I mean who would ever expect to read this in a foodie mag:

“I walk across a beach, and in 30 seconds, I knew it was the worst beach in Minorca. The sea was fine, the sand was okay, the view was lovely, it was clean and sheltered. I got off it as soon as I could. People occasionally ask, where are the best beaches in the world? And I always reply it depends on who you are with. But I can tell you how to tell the worst beaches in the world: they’re the ones with the bare-naked people on them.” (Gourmet Traveller, Aug 06, Song Sung Blue, p 55)

Oh, it goes on and it gets better. “I’m also often asked for insiders’ tips on being able to tell a good restaurant from the other sort. My advice is to enter, ask for a menu, order some food, and when it arrives, eat it. Generally, the inquirers are not satisfied with this.” He continues, “What they want is a tip, a secret inside sign. Okay. Well, don’t eat in a restaurant that has ankle-deep pools of vomit outside.”

All this leads up to, well, something entirely different that I don’t want to spoil for you. Suffice it to say, author AA Gill had a few more rants on his mind and I just love a sardonic wit.

But, there’s certainly more to this issue than the Song Sung Blue article. I dog-eared page after page of beautifully shot recipes to try in this issue (as I seem to do with all of them… my must try recipe list is now approaching the 3 digit mark), including one for an Apple and Pear Flognarde. Honestly, I’m not even sure how to pronounce Flognarde, but it looked so delicious and I had a whole bowl of apples and pears to use.

Flognarde is a Flemish take on clafoutis, and eggy custardy baked pancaky sort of dessert. It’s basically a bread pudding without the bread, so the fruit takes on a much bigger role. It’s so easy to make, the hardest part is probably peeling all the apples. The Gourmet Traveller recipe calls for double cream as a topping, but I think this would be even more delightful with a big scoop of vanilla and some plum sauce.

I followed the recipe quite to a T this time… well almost to a T… I left out the oil called for in the original, and dotted the top of the fruit with little cubes of butter instead. The recipe below reflects this change.

Also, in many of the recipes on this site, like this one, I call for casters sugar. If you don’t have caster’s sugar or superfine sugar, you can fairly easily make your own. Just throw some regular granulated sugar into a food processor and let it spin for about 5 minutes. I learned this trick from More from ACE Bakery, which I recently received a copy of to review, and it’s already come in handy a couple of times when I ran out of casters. More from this cookbook next week.

Apple and Pear Flognarde
(recipe from Gourmet Traveller, Aug 06, p 93)

3 cooking apples
3 ripe pears (bosc or other firm fruited pear)
1 T unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup casters sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425F. Lightly grease a shallow ceramic dish.

Peel and core the apples and pears, and slice into wedges. Place them in the baking dish and dot with the butter cubes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and flour. When just combined, add the milk and stir in till smooth. Pour the batter over the fruit.

Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. The edges will tend to brown a bit more than the middle, so you might want to cover them with some foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and dust with powdered sugar if desired. Best served immediately while still warm.

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