Julia Child: A century of fine cooking

  • Tue Aug 14th, 2012 6:39pm

<b>FOOD FINDS | </b>By Deanna Duff For the Weekly Herald

Elite chefs are now household names just like movie stars, but Julia Child remains one of the original celebrity chefs. Child became passionate about cooking late in life and generated American interest in French cuisine when she co-authored the legendary “Mastering The Art of French Cooking,” published in 1961. Her subsequent books and television shows not only educated at-home cooks, but inspired audiences to fall in love with her enthusiasm.

On Aug. 15, which would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday, festivities are planned around Seattle to celebrate her legacy. The University Book Store will host a party complete with French music, cake and local food writers sharing stories and reading Child’s work (7 p.m. at the U-District store, 4326 University Way NE, Seattle). For an at-home bash, celebrate with a dessert recipe straight from the master herself.

Julia Child’s Clafouti (Cherry Flan)

For 6 to 8 people

The clafouti (also spelled with a final “s” in both singular and plural) which is traditional in the Limousin during the cherry season is peasant cooking for family meals, and about as simple a dessert to make as you can imagine: a pancake batter poured over fruit in a fireproof dish, then baked in the oven. It looks like a tart, and is usually eaten warm.

(If you have no electric blender, work the eggs into the flour with a wooden spoon, gradually beat in the liquids, then strain the batter through a fine sieve.)


3 cups pitted black cherries

1 1/4 cups milk

2/3 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup flour

Powdered sugar in a shaker


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use fresh, black, sweet cherries in season. Otherwise use drained, canned, pitted Bing cherries, or frozen sweet cherries, thawed and drained.

Place the milk, 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, salt, and flour in your blender jar in the order in which they are listed. Cover and blend at top speed for 1 minute.

Pour a 1/4-inch layer of batter in a 7- to 8-cup buttered, fireproof baking dish or pyrex pie plate about 1 1/2 inches deep. Set over moderate heat for a minute or two until a film of batter has set in the bottom of the dish. Remove from the heat. Spread the cherries over the batter and sprinkle on the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar. Pour on the rest of the batter and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.

Place in middle position of preheated oven and bake for about an hour. The clafouti is done when it has puffed and browned, and a needle or knife plunged into its center comes out clean. Sprinkle top of clafouti with powdered sugar just before bringing it to the table. (The clafouti need not be served hot, but should still be warm. It will sink down slightly as it cools.)

Excerpted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck. Copyright &Copy; 2001 by Julia Child, Louisette Berthol. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.