Huckleberry Clafoutis

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In the last two weeks, it’s been hard to avoid huckleberries in Seattle, but I still get excited anytime I see them at the market or on a menu. At this time of year, it’s the blue mountain type huckleberries whose subtle sweetness pairs equally well with desserts and savory dishes. Earlier in Seattle, if you are lucky, you might find the red huckleberries, which are far more tart and tangy which are a great seasonal replacement for fresh cranberries in the summer. The blue mountain huckleberries are closer in flavor and juiciness to a blueberry.

I decided to whip mine up into a clafoutis. Now, I’d love to give you the recipe for this clafoutis, but unfortunately, it’s super secret. I was lucky enough to discover it over the summer during a shoot I did with a local Seattle pastry chef (who shall remain nameless, unless she tells me otherwise) where she made recipe after recipe of the most beautiful cherry desserts you can imagine. One of those was a cherry clafoutis so light and lovely, I had to find the recipe. But, she has her own blog, so it seems unfair to publish her recipe. However, when the recipe appears out there, I’ll be sure to point you to it.

Update: Great news! The piece with the recipe I worked on last summer is now online on Gourmet.com, along with my photo!

In the meantime, there are a few tips I learned along the way I don’t mind sharing. First, after making several batches (with various fruits), it’s best to use a fruit that isn’t too juicy. For this reason, huckleberries are perfect (whereas really ripe peaches make a big, soggy mess). The skins hold in most of the juices so that the batter sets well, but enough of the berries will pop that the whole thing is beautifully flavored.

Also, I tried a few different pans and the clafoutis that always turned out the best was cooked in cast iron. I picked up one of the little 6.5 inch cast iron pans at Crate & Barrel for less than $10. Now, I’m tempted to go back and get three more so I can make individual sized clafoutis for four. How cool would that be?


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  • http://www.eatmedelicious.com Ashley

    Wow that looks really good. Very beautiful photos! Thanks for the clafouti tips. I’ve been wanting to try making it!

  • http://www.trialsnerror.blogspot.com Nabeela

    wow…cast iron pans for clafoutis….that’s new to me

  • http://themodernapron.blogspot.com TD

    Individual cast iron skillets–GREAT idea! I’ve seen several recipes for “skillet meals” in food magazines lately (Donna Hay, Cooking Light), and how great would it be to serve something like that in cast iron skillet? Hm, what time does Crate & Barrel open?!?

  • http://www.cookthink.com Claire

    I’m a big fan of individually sized pans – there is something so elegant about each diner getting their own little plate, and especially so for anything where the edges and crust are so delightful. I hope you’ll reveal your source soon – as an east-coaster I’m not particularly familiar with huckleberries, but I may have to seek them out.

  • http://veggiegirlvegan.blogspot.com VeggieGirl

    I must admit, I’ve never had huckleberries; but the spectacular photograph of your clafoutis is enough to make me want to try them! :0)

  • http://sweet-sins.blogspot.com Eva

    The term huckleberry is completely new to me – is it the same as bilberry? Your montage of four pics looks just wonderful! If I had the chance to get my hands on cast iron that cheap, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second..;-)

  • http://www.thefoodtraveller.com/blog/ Francesco

    What is a huckleberry ? This looks delicious and nicely presented.

  • http://dressingfordinner.blogspot.com Gemma

    We don’t get these berries in Britain but I suppose blueberries could work? I wish we had crate and barrel over here (and williams sonoma and sur la table), I got hooked on all these shops when I was on holiday last month.

  • http://teaandcookies.blogspot.com Tea

    Gorgeous! Makes me want to beeline for Seattle, immediately:-)

  • http://chewonthatblog.com Hillary

    That looks fantastic. I have yet to experience a huckleberry, and I didn’t realize you were from Seattle! My brother is moving there in a month so I’ll be visiting soon enough. Perhaps I’ll try some huckleberry fare then.

  • Elizabeth

    I live in Texas but would love to get my hands on some huckleberries for a friend who despeartely wants some. I can’t find them anywhere. I know they are highly regional and seasonal. Anyone know a decently priced online resource to order them from?

  • http://www.cookandeat.com/ L

    Hi All,

    Lots of questions! Here are some answers hopefully!

    Huckleberries are similar to bilberries, but not the same thing. Also, they are related to blueberries, but again a bit different. There are different kinds of huckleberries too, just to add to the confusion. Coastal huckleberries are red and come into season around here in June. The mountain huckleberries are blue, and look like small wild blueberries, and are in season in late summer/early fall (the season is about over now). Wikipedia explains all this better than I do.

    Blueberries are an excellent substitute if you can’t find huckleberries. Or, if you have huckleberries, they are a great substitute for any recipe you’d use blueberries in!

    Where to order them online? That’s a tough one. My guess is that you’ll have to find them frozen. Here is one link that I found with a quick search:

    Wild Harvest

  • http://michelleamurao.blogspot.com/ Michelle

    Hhmm.. I’ve never tried huckleberries nor have I ever baked or cooked with iron skillets. I’ll have to see if I can find them. If not, I’ll try this recipe with bluberries. Love the pics as usual.

  • Kris

    I’m the luckiest of men: after introducing my partner to clafouti nearly two years ago, he now bakes them with a variety of fruits. Cherries are classic, but we’re now in pear heaven—and have used scads of other fruits. (The only one we can’t fully recommend is banana.) Individually sized clafoutis are magnificent.

  • http://caseyellis.blogspot.com Casey

    Night before last I had a lovely little apple cake with huckleberries in the batter at a San Francisco restaurant. I love the slightly tart accent they give. I’d had a wee bit too much champagne (it was a good friend’s birthday celebration) to make any guesses/notes about the recipe, but it certainly was delicious.
    Meanwhile, I hope the clafouti recipe will show up on a blog we can access–I’ve tried Julia Child’s recipe and found it only so-so. And I love a good clafouti.

  • http://foodblogga.blogspot.com Susan from Food Blogga

    I had phenomenal marionberries when I visited Seattle but no huckleberries (which is so much more fun to say). Thanks for the tip about the type of fruit to use in clafloutis. I’ve always heard cherries are ideal, but I still haven’t made one. Yours looks lovely; I do wish I could try a bite. Or two.

  • http://nookandpantry.blogspot.com/ Amy

    Oo I love that you used cast iron skillets! They look wonderful!

  • http://www.talkoftomatoes.com janelle

    Wow. you are talented, gorgeous photos and blog. And a Seattlelite too?

  • http://caseyellis.blogspot.com Casey

    Well the pastry chefs in the Bay Area are loving the hucleberries. At lunch yesterday in Palo Alto I had an exqusitite huckleberry tart–beries topped with lemon curd and a tiny dab of whipped cream alongside a wee chocolate coin. Sublime.

  • http://myfrenchkitchen.wordpress.com/ myfrenchkitchen

    The photo’s are stunning, so I can just imagine the experience you’ve had! I’m all for a secret recipe. We all need to have a little secret somewhere and if I never see the recipe, I’ll be just too happy to indulge in some lovely pics!
    Ronell

  • http://none Alice

    Good clafoutis recipe? Easy..I’ve tried lots and I’d say that there are two really good ones I’ve ever tried and used repeatedly. One is by Elizabeth David and the other is by Claudia Roden, I’ve tried both with either individual different fruits or combinations of fruits (such as blueberries, raspberries and peaches).

  • http://bretzeletcafecreme.blogspot.com/ Flo Bretzel

    I really love your pictures!

  • http://tastypalettes.blogspot.com Suganya

    This is a must try. Cast iron pan is a neat idea!

  • http://almostvegetarian.blogspot.com almost vegetariana

    Oh, hey, if you need a clafoutis recipe, I have one on my site (http://almostvegetarian.blogspot.com/2007/05/life-is-just-bowl-of-cherries-and-heres.html) you are welcome to use. It uses cherries, but it is fast and easy and absolutely delicious. I’m sure it could be adapted to huckleberries quite easily.

    Cheers!

  • http://teacia.blog.hr/ Tea

    I lovce your blog (And still life with..) and you are inspiring me; your photos are fabulous and who cares about punctuation 😉
    X

  • http://www.lacucinadiadina.blogspot.com adina

    there’s a gift for you in my blog! :-)

  • http://www.papageorgetuna.com Holly

    ….our family goes huckleberry picking every September near Mt Adams and there are three types; one blue, one black, and then the red. We pick mostly the black type because they are much sweeter than the blue & reds. We will have to try the berries in a clafoutis. The best clafoutis ever made up here was with eastern washington fresh peaches and Lopez Island raspberries. With a dollop of whipped cream, we were in heaven.

  • http://www.mycookinghut.com mycookinghut

    I love clafoutis!! You shots are amazingly pretty!

  • John

    Slightly unrelated to the dish. I thought huckleberrys only grew above 3000 feet in elevation?