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THERE’S DINNER PARTY INSPO APLENTY IN THE VOLUMES THAT MARK TAYLOR’S BEEN DEVOURING THIS MONTH…

DINNER & PARTY Rose Prince Seven Dials, £25

With so many cookbooks trying to reinvent the culinary wheel, how refreshing to find one that concentrates on practical and simple dishes for the family without relying on smoke and mirrors. There is nothing cutting edge or flashy about Rose Prince’s Dinner & Party, but then this award-winning food writer has been around for the past two decades and practicality and commonsense have always come before fads and trends. Prince’s sound stance on entertaining is that the cook shouldn’t be banished to the kitchen during a dinner party and the trick is to prepare as much as possible in advance. With a useful seasonal menu planner for guidance, the book is packed with classics (coq au vin, cassoulet, chocolate mousse) but also deliciously modern ideas like lemon risotto with rocket, and fishcakes with lemongrass and coriander.

CLAFOUTIS WITH PEARS   SERVES 6-8

The lightest baked creamy custard with soft fruit. I make clafoutis with pears, apricots, plums or figs but very rarely, although faithful to its origins, with cherries – because I am lazy about pitting (stoning) small fruit. Make the clafoutis an hour before serving. It only takes 20 minutes to prepare and can be made with slightly unripe fruit, which softens during cooking. INGREDIENTS

30g butter, for greasing 120g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting 100ml whole milk 150ml whipping cream ½ vanilla pod, seeds only (or ¼ tsp vanilla extract) 4 eggs 20g plain flour 500g perfectly ripe pears, cut lengthways into eighths

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METHOD

1 Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. 2 Butter an ovenproof metal pan or ceramic dish and then dust it with caster sugar. Put the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan and heat to boiling point, then remove from the heat. 3 Put the eggs in a bowl with the sugar and whisk them together. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, then pour the milk mixture in slowly, whisking all the time. 4 Scatter the pears over the base of the pan – you can arrange them neatly in a circle, if you wish. Pour the batter around them, not over the top, and then put the pan in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the custard has puffed and coloured gold in places. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 hour. Dust with caster sugar and serve. TIP You can also make it ‘boozy’, soaking the fruit in a tablespoon of corresponding liqueur – Poire Williams for the pears, plum brandy for plums, and so on.

Crumbs Bath & Bristol - Issue 68  
Crumbs Bath & Bristol - Issue 68  
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