Inspired by French icon Brigitte Bardot, my Pear Clafouti is essentially pears suspended in custard. Simple, elegant, & completely delicious.
Pear Clafouti à la Bardot
Brigitte Bardot is one of a kind.
When Bardot burst onto the screen with her dynamic performance in …And God Created Woman (1956), the world took notice. Her uninhibited screen persona and private life were shocking, magnetic, stylish, and unapologetic.
Audiences were fascinated with this free spirit who redefined the modern woman. And they couldn’t stop looking.
As her friend and director Nina Companeez once said about BB,
“Call it charisma or magnetism, or just the magic spell she could cast. Whatever, it was, it was truly incredible. There was something so obviously unique about her. Of course she had perfect posture and the most beautiful walk. But it was much more than just that. She’d step into a crowded room and the entire room would stop. I saw it happen all the time, especially in restaurants, where people who were just about to put a fork into their mouth would, literally, freeze right where they were, as if she sent out signals, and they instinctively knew she was there.”
Brigitte Bardot: Still Captivating
Over seventy years since Bardot first hit the world stage, we’re still captivated. It’s often been said, at times even by Brigitte herself, that the public and private Bardot are one and the same.
But that’s an over-simplification, an injustice to this complex woman who still keeps us guessing. The public and private Bardot are not the same. At least not completely.
Read my article on Brigitte for seven fascinating facts you didn’t know about the private life of this French icon.
Brigitte Bardot: Pear Clafouti Inspiration
But today I’m sharing another little known fact about Brigitte:
She can cook.
Yes, Brigitte Bardot, international movie star and fashion trendsetter [aff. link], cooks.
And clafouti happens to be one of the dishes that Brigitte excels at. (She also makes a killer vegetable soup, but we’ll save that for later recipe inspiration.)
Over the years, Brigitte has been known to make her homemade clafouti for friends and family. When Brigitte’s younger sister Marie Jeanne—or “Mijanou”—as Brigitte nicknamed her, was ill in the hospital, Brigitte decided to brighten her sister’s day by bringing her a homemade meal. And as you probably guessed, Brigitte also brought Mijanou her homemade clafouti for dessert.
Pear Clafouti à la Bardot
Much like Brigitte herself, clafouti is quintessentially French. At its core, this Gallic dessert is fruit suspended in custard. Simple, elegant, and completely delicious.
I can’t say what fruit Brigitte uses in her homemade clafouti. My guess is she probably switches it up, using whatever is in season: berries and stone fruit, such as plums or cherries, all make delicious clafouti.
My Clafouti à la Bardot uses pears. The mild texture and sweetness of pears just complements the gentle custard of this dessert beautifully.
Make my Pear Clafouti à la Bardot for dessert, or make it for brunch. Either way, I bet you’ll find yourself thinking of Brigitte, making clafouti in her own tasteful and down to earth kitchen at La Madrague, the house in Saint Tropez that Brigitte has called home for over 60 years.
Pear Clafouti à la Bardot
- 3 Tbsp turbinado sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup flour
- ⅓ cup + 1 Tbsp almond flour
- 1 cup milk or cream
- 2 Tbsp butter, melted
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or one additional tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp lemon zest, plus a little more for garnish
- 1 ½-2 large pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- Powdered sugar, to garnish
Prepare the baking dish
- Oil a 9 or 9 ½ inch round glass baking dish (such as a standard-sized pie dish), or four, 5 inch mini pie/tart dishes. Now take the turbinado sugar granules, and press them into the bottom of your baking dish (or dishes) and up the sides. Set aside.
Beat the eggs and sugar
- In a large mixing bowl, use a stand or handheld mixer to beat the eggs on medium speed, until the yokes break and come together.
- Without stopping the mixer, slowly add in the sugar. Beat until the eggs and sugar form a light mixture, and no sugar granules can be seen, about 3 minutes.
Add the other batter ingredients
- Without stopping the mixer, now slowly add in the flour, followed by the almond flour.
- Once the flours are fully incorporated, add in the melted butter, cream/milk, vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste (if using), salt, and lemon zest. Keep mixing until everything comes together, and you have a smooth, fluffy custard batter.
- Let the batter sit for about 10 minutes while you prepare the pears.
Prepare the pears
- Peel, core, and slice the pears. Then arrange them evenly in the bottom of your baking dish or dishes.
Pour the custard over the top and bake
- Pour the custard batter over the pears in your baking dish (or dishes). Leave about ½ inch of space at the top of your baking dish to allow the clafouti to rise in the oven without spilling over the edge of your dish.
- For a 9 or 9 ½ inch round dish: Bake at 375 degrees for 27 minutes, until the top of the clafouti is firm in the center with very little jiggle.
- Important Note: The clafouti will get brown on top! It's going to happen, so don't worry, the clafouti is not burning. The important thing here is to let the clafouti bake until the center is set, so don't be tempted to pull it out of the oven before that happens.
- For four 5 inch dishes: Bake at 375 degrees for 18-22 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
- Remove the clafouti from the oven and garnish with powdered sugar, followed by a little bit of lemon zest.
- Serve the clafouti warm, at room temperature, or even cold. It pairs well with homemade whipped cream.