Frangipani, frangipane — I’ve come across these words from time to time but never really known what they meant. My assumption was something slightly exotic involving mixed fruit, nuts and spices perhaps, and most likely fragrant. Still, not knowing what something is doesn’t stop me from making it anyway — remember the great blueberry semifreddo scandal this past Fourth of July. Luckily this recipe for frangipane clafouti is pretty close to the mark.
Frangipani is a lovely tropical flower of the plumeria family which is prized for making perfume. Their heady scent also makes them a popular blossom for leis. Did you know I was born in Hawaii? No? Well now you do. Did you know that when you wear a flower behind your left ear it means you’re on the prowl and when it’s behind your right ear it means you’re spoken for? File that one away in your obscure facts file. Someday you just might thank me.
So a frangipane dessert is going to involve nuts. Check. Like “Florentine” indicates that spinach is involved, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Have you ever heard people rave about the emerald spinach fields of Tuscany? And what about “à la mode?” A bonus scoop of ice cream is timeless; it’s a bit of a stretch to convince yourself you’re only having it because it’s the trendy new thing to do. Still it’s nice to have these short hand descriptors and let’s face it, they’re undeniably classy.
Clafouti is also a somewhat obscure, though a gift of a lovely ceramic clafouti pan with a recipe turned me on to this lovely dessert ages ago. Fruit, oftentimes cherries, baked in a shallow tarte pan in a thick, custardy batter, served warm with a liberal dusting of powdered sugar.
So my Frangipane Clafouti is wonderfully fragrant, involves yellow cherries and plums. I did swap out the almonds for pignoli, but I think I — and you — can get away with it.