Limoges is best known for its porcelain, but it is also a center of fine decorative enamel work. To me, it always means clafouti.
My grandmother’s 101-year-old Limoges bowl, from her wedding in 1904...good for holding cherries for a cherry clafouti!
The informal capital of the Limousin region of southwest France, Limoges is the big city in a fairly rural area.
After graduating from college and teaching French in an American Middle School, I set off again for France, this time to be an English teaching assistant in a Teacher Training School in Limoges.
I lived at the school and took my meals with the students, and I can assure you the meals were unlike any institutional food I had eaten in the US.
At each meal a bottle of wine was plunked on the table, and we were served an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert.
Fortunately classes did not resume until 2:00, to allow for the much needed digestion of such a repast.
Lunching occasionally with faculty, I met the woman who taught the equivalent of Home Economics. Learning of my interest in French food and cooking, she invited me to attend her classes.
My favorite class introduced me to clafouti, a traditional French country dessert from the Limousin region.
Traditionally made with cherries, I’ve also enjoyed it with apples.
It’s a peasant dessert, falling somewhere between a pie and a cake, something a French farm wife would serve at home and not consider it anything special.
I think it’s wonderfully special, however, and offer two easy recipes: apple and cherry.
For those of you who find making pie crust intimidating (which it's not: read this), clafouti is for you—no crust, just pour the batter over the fruit and voila!