Goat Cheese

Cherry & Goat Cheese Clafoutis

Is this an appetizer or dessert? I use it for both. Clafoutis is a simple "peasant" dish from the Limousine region of France. Cherries are most traditional in this dish but other stone fruits like pluots, plums, prunes and pears are delicious too. In this updated version by Patricia Wells, goat cheese and ground almonds are added making it equally delicious as an appetizer or lightly sweet dessert. Serves 6-8

  • Unsalted butter for preparing the baking dish
  • 1 1/2 pounds cherries, pitted
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) very fresh, moist goat cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup finely ground blanched almonds
  • A pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. pure almond extract
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting the gratin
  • Equipment: One 10 1/2 inch (27-cm) round porcelain baking dish

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Butter the baking dish and arrange the cherries in a single layer. 

In a bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients except the confectioners' sugar and whisk to blend. This can be done in a food processor. Pour the mixture over the cherries. 

Place the baking dish in the center of the oven. Bake until the gratin is firm and a deep golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool. Dust lightly with confectioners' sugar, and serve in wedges. 

  • Decrease the sugar to 3 Tbls. and serve with bread as a cheese appetizer.
  • Serve for dessert with extra fresh cherries on the side.
  • Substitute halved plums.
  • Leave out the sugar and substitute plum or cherry tomatoes: slice tomatoes in half and lightly salt the cut side. Layer in paper towel to drain for 30 minutes and then proceed with recipe and 1/2 tsp. dried thyme.

At Home in Provence, Patricia Wells

Tea Smoked Mushroom Salad with Spiced Cashews and Goat Cheese

Tea-smoked mushrooms have a tea-infused, earthy, umami flavor. They are delicious served over warm Brie with crusty bread or in this salad. Enjoy!

Serves 6

Cayenne Cashews:

  • 1/4 cup cashews 
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper 
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt 

Tea-Smoking Mixture:

  • ½ cup rice 
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup black tea leaves of your choice, such as Earl Grey, Lapsong Souchong, etc.
  • 2 Tbls. whole black peppercorns, cracked
  • 1 tsp. whole coriander seeds 
  • 4 slices (about 1 ounce) fresh ginger root 
  • 1 cinnamon sticks 
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1/4 cup indoor smoker wood shavings (optional)

Mushrooms:

  • ½ Lbs. assorted mushrooms, shiitake, chanterelle, portobello, brown cremini, white
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced 
  • Olive oil to coat the mushrooms
  • Tea-smoking mixture (recipe below)

Dressing & Salad:

  • 1/3 cup sherry
  • 1/2 Tbls. shallots, minced
  • 1/4 Tbls. Dijon mustard 
  • 1 Tbls. strong brewed black tea using the same tea as in smoking mixture
  • 2/3 cup nut oil or mild olive oil
  • Butter crunch lettuce and/or arugula
  • 4 oz. mild, fresh goat cheese

To make Cayenne Cashews:

Preheat oven to 375˚ 

Add the cashews, sugar, and water to a sauce pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Strain the cashews and place them in a small mixing bowl. In another small bowl, mix salt and cayenne and sprinkle the cashews tossing to coat the cashews. Spread the nuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake them for 5 minutes, or until the cashews are golden brown. Remove the nuts from the oven and let them cool. 

To make Tea Smoked Mushrooms:

Wash, dry and quarter or halve the mushrooms, depending on their size, into bite-size pieces and place in a bowl.  Toss lightly to coat with garlic and olive oil.  

Mix together all of the tea-smoking ingredients.  Line a wok or sauté pan with a tight-fitting lid (do not use non-stick) with two layers of foil and place the smoking mixture in a mound in the center of the foil. Set a wire rack or vegetable stearmer in the wok and place a tight-fitting lid on top of the wok.  Heat the wok until wisps of smoke appear when you briefly lift the lid. 

Reduce the heat under the wok and quickly place the mushrooms on the rack in the wok.  Replace cover.  Smoke for about 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and place in a bowl to let stand at room temperature.  Adjust seasoning as needed with salt and pepper to taste. 

To make dressing:

In a small pan, bring the sherry to a boil to burn off the alcohol. Reduce slightly. Cool. Whisk together shallot, Dijon and tea. Whisk in oil and adjust seasoning.

To serve:

Toss the lettuce with the dressing and mound on a platter. Top with mushrooms, crumbled cheese and cashews. Serve.

Other options for smoking

  • Asparagus and other veggies, Rhubarb, firm tofu, Tempeh, prawns, scallops, or halibut or salmon fillets.
  • Serve the smoked mushrooms over ramen noodles in broth sprinkled with chives 
  • Serve on toasted bread with Brie or goat cheese as an appetizer

*Mushrooms adapted from Cooking with Tea, Robert Wemischner