The Very Essence – Gooseberry Clafoutis

Gooseberry Clafoutis | My Blue&White Kitchen

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent a weekend in the Finnish archipelago. We were staying at my friend's summer cottage – a wooden red house by the sea. So cliché but, at the same time, so perfect. All kind of berry bushes were growing around the house: bilberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, raspberries, rose hips (unfortunately they weren't ripe yet), and red gooseberries. Every morning we went outside with our breakfast bowls, picked our berries of choice, and enjoyed them with plain yogurt and the granola I made for us. It can't get more seasonal, local, and sustainable than this, right? The very essence of Nordic summer life.

Actually, it's the very essence of the Nordic cuisine. Yesterday, I read a column in the Swedish Gourmet magazine that wondered what's really new about the so-called New Nordic Cuisine. After all, as René Redzepi has stated "In Scandinavia, we've always foraged, wandered in the forests and searched for food, long before the term even existed". And we still do.

I don't know why but it's quite hard to come by gooseberries in grocery stores and at farmers' markets these days. Are they 'out of fashion'? Can food get out of fashion? Well, I guess it can. [Apparently we aren't the only ones who have lost our love for these berries.] Furthermore, if you get lucky to find some, they most probably are the green ones. You should have seen my excitement when I saw those perfect, burgundy colored gooseberries grow in the backyard. The bushes were heavy with berries so I didn't even have to worry that there wouldn't be enough for everyone PLUS for me to take home.

On Sunday afternoon after most of the cleaning and packing was done, I took my pink bucket and started to pick those sweet gooseberries one after another always trying to be careful not to touch the sharp spines (with varying success though). I already had a specific use for them in mind: clafoutis should be their destiny.

Are you familiar with clafoutis, one of the most decadent yet simple desserts the French cuisine has to offer? Clafoutis is what would happen if pie and custard made love to each other. The custard melts in your mouth while the berries have their own dance party. It's not a treat I grew up with. I stumbled upon it years ago on Béa's blog La Tartine Gourmande and immediately fell in love with this French classic. It's versatile, simple, relatively quick to make, and a decadent treat even for special occasions. I particularly love clafoutis made with plums, peaches, or berries and always add some nut flour to the batter.

Go get some berries, or even better forage if you're lucky, and make your Wednesday brighter with a lovely clafoutis on your table!

Gooseberry Clafoutis

makes one 18 cm / 7" clafoutis

In this recipe, I use gooseberries, but you can definitely use whatever fruit or berries you have around. After enjoying a gooseberries only version, I made one with a mix of gooseberries and blackcurrants which I found to be exquisite as well. As I mentioned above, I like some nut flour in my custard batter but it can be substituted with all-purpose flour if you aren't into nuts or simply can't tolerate them.

1 ½ dl (⅔ cup) whole milk
1 dl (½ cup minus 1 ½ tbsp) heavy cream or full-fat coconut milk
zest of ½ an organic lemon
1 vanilla bean, split open & seeds scraped out
45 g (¾ dl; ⅓ cup) all-purpose flour
20 g (3 tbsp) almond flour
66 g (¾ dl; ⅓ cup) granulated sugar
pinch of salt
3 eggs (M)
30 g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted

400 g gooseberries, cleaned

powdered sugar, to dust

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Butter a 18 cm / 7-inch pan. Set aside.

In a small pot, heat the milk, cream (or coconut milk), lemon zest, and vanilla seeds and bean. Take from heat, cover, and let infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and gradually add the dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter and infused milk mixture.

Arrange the berries in the prepared pan and pour the custard on top. Bake the clafoutis on the middle rack for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the center has has set and is golden in color. Let cool and dust with powdered sugar. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature – the clafoutis will continue to set while cooling down.

Gooseberry Clafoutis | My Blue&White Kitchen

Related posts

A Thunderstorm & Redcurrant Buttermilk Cake

You know when you laugh so hard that you eventually can't breathe anymore and every single muscle in your body seems to hurt? Yes, that happened multiple times during last weekend. I don't think I've laughed so much and wholeheartedly in a while. I think I've never stared at the night sky for several hours in a row. Seriously, when was the last time you gazed at bright stars and spotted shooting stars and satellites? Promise me you'll do that. It's epic.

I spent last weekend in the Finnish archipelago where we threw a bachelorette party for my dear friend. I was so exhausted after those three days...okay, a total understatement. I actually think that my IQ was below zero for several days after I came back home. Not because of alcohol but simply due to emotional and physical exhaustion. Maybe I still haven't fully recovered, so I'll just start talking about today's recipe which is one I connect many childhood memories with.

Redcurrant Buttermilk Cake | My Blue&White Kitchen

The cake I share with you today is one my mom used to make when I was a kid. It's actually one of the most traditional berry cakes here in Finland. I made it with redcurrants because I had a bunch of them at hand after a recent berry picking trip. Also, I think that this batter works best with tart berries or fruit due to its relative sweetness. You could, however, substitute currants with blueberries or other fruit of your choice. The cake is moist and sweet, the currants add a wonderful tartness to it, and as it bakes, a lovely dark crust forms thanks to the buttermilk. The cake is a real no-brainer and I'm pretty confident you could even make this with an IQ below zero. Just mix everything together (according to my mom it's irrelevant in which order; just make sure everything is incorporated) and scatter the berries over, bake, done.

I shot these pics right before this summer's worst thunderstorm. It was a stormy day, and I actually thought twice before I found the courage to bake the cake despite the weather forecast. The worst scenario in my head: thunderstorm hitting, power cut, and the cake still baking in the oven = disaster. However, I succeeded to bake the cake (while constantly tracking weather forecasts) and shot it in the doorway cause that basically was the place with the best light source. So there I stood with a camera in my hands and the door wide open while the storm was building up outside. I really had not much styling in my head; I just wanted to get some shots before the skies opened up. These may not be the best pictures but I like them anyway simply because I'll always recognize the moment they were taken in.

The thunderstorm eventually hit, but luckily we (including the cake) were all doing fine. I sat in the dark cottage with all lights and electrical devices turned off and silently ate my cake while gazing out the window. Happy face.

Redcurrant Buttermilk Cake

makes 1 sheet cake

The cake is usually made as a sheet cake, but to make a cake as seen in the pictures just halve the recipe and bake in a cake pan (I used a shallow 28 cm / 11" to 17 cm / 7" pan). Note that the berries must be dried carefully to prevent them from sinking to the bottom while baking. If your berries are really juicy and you feel nervous about them, simply toss the berries in some flour or potato starch to give them a light coating before sprinkling them on top of the cake. The flour/starch will absorb the potential liquid and keep the berries from sinking.

100 g (1 ½ dl; cup) graham flour
290 g (5 dl + 2 tbsp; 2 cups + 4 tbsp) all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
4 ½ dl (1 ¾ cups + 2 ⅓ tbsp) buttermilk (if you are in Scandinavia, you can use filmjölk instead or make your own buttermilk)
150 g unsalted butter, melted
350 g (4 dl; 1 ⅔ cups) granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste (or 1 vanilla bean, split open & seeds scraped out)
2 eggs (M)

~ 600 g (~ 1 ½ lb) redcurrants, cleaned & dried carefully

powdered sugar, to dust

optional: vanilla ice cream, to serve

Preheat the oven to 250°C (475°F). Line a deep baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a medium-sized bowl mix together the buttermilk, melted butter, sugar, vanilla paste, and eggs. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Let the batter sit for about 5 minutes.

Pour the batter into the baking dish and top with the redcurrants. Bake on the middle rack for 20 to 30 minutes, or until deep brown in color. Let cool a bit and dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy warm or at room temperature plain or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The cake will keep for up to two days.

Redcurrant Buttermilk Cake | My Blue&White Kitchen

Related posts

About The Blog Turning One & Being A Wild Raspberry Scone Warrior

Raspberry Buttermilk Scones | My Blue&White Kitchen

The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him, a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create – so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.

– Pearl S. Buck

Raspberry Buttermilk Scones | My Blue&White Kitchen

First of all, this little blog baby of mine has turned one! Wohoo! Happy birthday, blog! It still can't walk on it's own or talk or write posts but I'm proud of it anyway. It all started with my love for food and photography and my inner longing to share that passion with others. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined all the goodness that I would experience as a result of me finally finding the courage to start my own blog. Isn't it weird how one decision can have such a huge impact on your life?

Thank you for being here. Thank you for saying "hi!" and leaving encouraging comments. Thank you for making my recipes. You can't even imagine how exciting it is to hear that one of you has baked or cooked a recipe and loved it as much as I have! Thank you for your friendship. Oh, how many wonderful people I've met along the way! So many creative, inspiring, and strong souls. I've been welcomed to this community of food bloggers with such kindness and for that, I'm so very grateful. Thank you.

Raspberry Buttermilk Scones | My Blue&White Kitchen

Now to these scones... They were a result of some serious battles. First, there was that raspberry picking trip where I had to fight against a whole mosquito army. There was blood. There was cursing and physical violence. And casualties. I came home with itching mosquito bites, some blood on my forehead, and a red knee cause I walked straight into a nettle bush and was so very clever to wear shorts (Don't do that. Just don't.). However, this all was worth it as my bucket was heavy with large and juicy raspberries. 

Then there was the day when I made these scones and shot the post. Real talk: I almost had a breakdown cause I had such a hard time trying to get these babes look beautiful and do them justice. I spend several hours trying to get that perfect shot (yes, several hours). Trying different angles, lighting, props. Nope. This wasn't my day, and I and these scones would definitely not become friends anymore. I struggled with serious self-doubts. By that time I had already declared them as enemy. I walked away. However, the scones still lingered on my frustrated mind. "Okay, let's approach these in a whole new way", I thought. You see the results here. I like these shots. A lot. Sometimes it's good to walk away to get some distance, and come back later with new eyes and a clear mind.

These scones and pictures are a labor of a true wild raspberry scone warrior.

Raspberry Buttermilk Scones | My Blue&White Kitchen

I really love these scones. Actually, the scones in the pictures aren't the most beautiful ones as I, in my frustration, ate the really pretty ones (sorry guys). They are light and tender but have a wonderful crust as well. They aren't too sweet and are speckled with pink raspberries. I decided to substitute part of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat spelt flour to make them a bit more wholesome. Furthermore, as I recreated the recipe a few times during last week I ended up making the scones a bit smaller and thicker to support the rising. I and these scones have made peace again. They are lovely little fellas.

They say that scones are best eaten while still warm and fresh, but I think potential leftovers are great on the next evening or even the next morning toasted in a toaster or pan. Add a knob of butter or enjoy with some brie (!!). I almost was turning these into some kind of French-toast-meets-scones thing but thought that it would be worth another post and story. Let's start with the basics and play wild and reckless another time. That said, the recipe can easily be halved as eight scones tends to be quite a lot unless you are feeding a whole family or hosting a brunch for a bunch of friends.

Raspberry Buttermilk Scones | My Blue&White Kitchen

Raspberry Buttermilk Scones

makes 8 scones

There are two essential things to keep in mind when making scones: keep it cold and work fast. Make sure that your butter and liquids, such as buttermilk, are really cold. Never overwork the dough: just mix and fold until everything is incorporated. Be sure that you've preheated your oven, lined a baking sheet with parchment paper, and have all ingredients at hand (preferably already measured) before starting to make the dough.

The first time I made these, it was a hot summer day. On the evening before I was wondering if I should change my plans of baking scones in the forecasted heat. However, I was too eager to hide the harvested raspberries in scone dough... What I made to ensure that the dough would be as cold as possible despite the challenging circumstances was the following: the night before, I measured the flours, sugar and salt, added them to the bowl I was going to make the dough in and stored it in the freezer. I also weighted the required amount of butter and froze it as well. The following morning, I added the baking powder and baking soda to the dry ingredients. Using a box grater, I coarsely grated the frozen butter and stirred it into the dry ingredients. After that, I proceeded as depicted below.

The recipe can easily be halved. Baked scones can be frozen.

190 g (3 ½ dl; 1 ½ cups) all-purpose flour
100 g (2 dl; ¾ cup + 1 ½ tbsp) whole wheat spelt flour
45 g (½ dl; 3 tbsp + 1 tsp) granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
135 g (1 ¼ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 dl (¾ cup + 1 ½ tbsp) buttermilk (if you are in Scandinavia, you can use filmjölk instead or make your own buttermilk)
130 g (2 ½ dl; 1 cup) raspberries

melted butter

Preheat the oven to 225°C (450°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter until the dough is crumbly and resembled small peas. Alternatively, you can do this by hand. Work quickly to ensure that the butter stays cold. Add the buttermilk and mix just until the dough comes together. At this point the dough should feel slightly sticky but still be easy to handle. If the dough feels too sticky add a bit more flour.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Pat the dough into an about 1,5 cm (0.5") thick circle and scatter the raspberries on top of the dough. Fold the dough over the raspberries 3 to 4 times. Because of the berries, the dough will probably feel quite sticky at this point. Lightly flour the work surface and dough to prevent sticking. Pat into an about 3 cm (2") thick circle. Cut into 8 wedges and place on the prepared baking sheet. Slightly brush with melted butter.

Bake the scones on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy while still warm.

Related Posts

A New Summer Favorite – Grilled Watermelon Salad

Grilled Watermelon Salad | my blue&white kitchen

I love borders. August is the border between summer and autumn; it is the most beautiful month I know.

Twilight is the border between day and night, and the shore is the border between sea and land.
The border is longing: when both have fallen in love but still haven't said anything.
The border is to be on the way. It is the way that is the most important thing.

– Tove Jansson

Grilled Watermelon Salad | my blue&white kitchen

I can feel it; I can see it with my own eyes. The days are getting shorter and the nights cover the sky with a dark cloak. Only the moon and bright stars shed some light on the serene midnight lake scenery. But as much as I love the Nordic summers and the nightless nights, this shift of seasons feels good. It feels right and I welcome it with open arms. To be honest with you, it would be very hard for me to live in a place without four distinct seasons. I think I would get bored. And as much as I hate to admit it, I think I would miss the snow and darkness as well.

There's certainly something utterly comforting in these dark, warm summer nights. They invite you to light a candle and read a good book. They make a tremendous backdrop for a crayfish party. They call you into the kitchen to bake a loaf of bread or even a cake.

Grilled Watermelon Salad | my blue&white kitchen

Although kids are returning to school after their 10-week-long summer vacation and life is slowly shifting from simple, slow-paced summer cottage life to the usual urban routines, summer isn't over yet. We've had a very unusually long and warm weather during the last couple of weeks with temperatures around 30°C (85°F). It's not quite the weather I fancy to spend much time in the kitchen, so I've been grilling a lot. Grilled vegetables are a staple, and I've particularly fallen in love with the taste of grilled fennel (Haven't tried it? You must!). I often add grilled vegetables to my salads. The smoky flavor is very welcome and I like to combine different flavors and textures to make my salads more interesting and complete. 

This grilled watermelon salad is a new summer favorite. I got a few skeptical looks when I told what I was planning to make for dinner. "You're going to grill that watermelon? How? Are you sure? Is this your own idea?"  I replied that no, this wasn't my idea, and that I had come across it every now and then but had never got the chance to try it myself, and that I was quite sure that I had something absolutely delicious in the making. "Trust me", I said. The first bite convinced even the most skeptical ones. The whole table came to the conclusion that this salad was a winner; the peppery arugula, the saltiness of feta cheese, the crunchy pumpkin seeds, the protein rich beluga lentils, and the juicy, sweet watermelon pieces with a wonderful smokiness. Furthermore, it looks gorgeous and is quick and easy to make. The prefect summer salad, so to speak.

Grilled Watermelon Salad | my blue&white kitchen

Grilled Watermelon Salad

serves 4

This salad can easily be prepared in advance and assembled just before serving. If you want to serve the watermelon so that it's still hot, grill it just before ready to serve.

130 g (1 heaping dl; ½ cup) beluga lentils, rinsed & picked over
90 g (1 heaping dl; ½ cup) pumpkin seeds
200 g (7 oz) feta cheese, drained & broken into chunks
2 red scallions, sliced
2 large bunches of arugula, washed & dried
half a small watermelon (mine was about 1300 g / 3 lb), cut into 2,5cm (1") thick slices
olive oil

For the vinaigrette
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
a drizzle of honey or agave nectar
fine sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook the beluga lentils al dente according to packet instructions. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat stirring regularly until they start to brown slightly, pop open, and are fragrant. Be careful not to burn them as this happens rather quickly. Add a pinch of salt and set aside.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to assemble.

To grill the watermelon, heat your grill on medium-high heat. Lightly brush the watermelon slices with olive oil. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until charred. Remove from heat and dice. Set aside.

To assemble, put the lentils, about two-thirds of the pumpkin seeds, feta, scallions, arugula, and dressing into a large bowl. Toss to combine. Assemble the watermelon cubes on top of the salad and sprinkle the remaining pumpkin seeds on top. Serve and receive rave reviews.

Grilled Watermelon Salad | my blue&white kitchen

Related posts

July Love&Inspiration

Chanterelles | my blue&white kitchen

There has been so much going on on the Internet lately. So much to get inspired and excited about. For a brief moment I actually considered to shorten this list as it looked sooo long but then I thought it would be unfair to keep you in the dark.

My vacation ended last week, so I definitely need some awesomeness in my life to keep me going (please don't hesitate to share your favorites on the comments below!). Hope you enjoy these links as much as I do.

» Lychee & Rose Boba with Pistachio Jelly – the words, the photos, the pictures, everything (more of the exciting blogger hangout can be seen here on The Bojon Gourmet)

» Valentina of Hortus Cuisine is talking about her approach on food photography. Fascinating. Also, browse the blog for more inspiring interviews!

» S'meaches!

» I love Laura's everyday meals, like these grilled sweet potato + black bean burrito bowls. Also, I made roasted vegetable + quinoa tacos inspired by her recipe. So good! You should also read this interview.

» Noodles! *slurp*

» Summer Squash Soup – such a beautifully written post and gorgeous pictures

» Two women gardening in a township just outside of Cape Town. Inspiring.

» These Sour Cherry Popsicles from The Tart Tart look so dramatic and refreshing!

» I've been a huge admirer of Nathalie and Matilda of Babes in Boyland, and I just love their new series where they visit people's summer cottages. Summer cottages are a huge part of our Nordic culture and they reflect so much of our hearts. Summer cottages aren't grand and fancy, quite the opposite actually. It's a back to the nature, back to the basics kind of thing. Most cottages don't have running water or flush toilets – you have an outhouse, you have a sauna, and most often a lake or the wide open sea. Some don't even have electricity. Summer cottages offer such a wonderful contrast to the hectic city life. For most Scandis, it's the most sacred place they know. It's a love affair, really.

» Need to throw a dumpling party.

» How have I never heard of lavender extract before? A great guide on how to make lavender extract at home.

» In love with Mazama

» Two Red Bowls' and my name is yeh's jointed post. Epic.

» This Montréal-based blog

» Why you have to refrigerate eggs in the U.S. but not in Europe

» Cocktail hour galore – Cucumber Mint Gimlets & Blueberry Mojitos. Also, we shouldn't forget these Balsamic-Roasted Strawberry Margaritas with local strawberries still available.

» Samuji

» I've been reminded to finally make the beer can chicken I've been dreaming about for way too long.

» This sweet cherry pie. And these blackberry meringues. Oh and what about grilled cherry milkshakes?

» Sneh is the creative mind behind the award-winning, Sydney-based food blog Cook Republic. This post about her kitchen renovation made me gasp for air. The before and after pictures are just mind-blowing.

» Going to make Beth's Blueberry, Buttermilk, & Rosemary Brown Butter Cake this weekend with berries from our forest.

» I think I have a crush on the Berlin-based food blog Our Food Stories and their summer cakes, such as Mini Frozen Yogurt Cakes and their Iced Gooseberry Cake

» The most empowering story I've ever heard. If you click on just one link in this post, let it be this one.

» For breakfast I would love to have Iced Coffee and Lemon, Ricotta, & Chia Seed Waffles

» Carey of Reclaiming Provincial is back!!! *happydance*

» Heidi Swanson's blog 101 Cookbooks was one of the first food blogs I started to follow yeeeeears ago. I cook from both her books, Super Natural Cooking and Super Natural Every Day, on a regular basis and her blog still inspires me tremendously. Just look at this Lemongrass Miso Soup! *gasp*

Wishing you all a wonderful August!

It's the last summer month here in the north and I've decided
to make the most of it including grill and crayfish parties
as well as late night swims.