July 11, 2012
Things I have discovered since my last post:
1) People really love giving unsolicited parenting advice.
2) People also really love to give baby girl clothes; between hand-me-downs and gifts, I don’t think we will need to buy this kiddo a stitch of clothing until she’s fifteen.
3) From our immediate friends and family to online acquaintances to perfect strangers, people have been more generous and genuinely happy for us than I would have imagined possible. It’s humbling, thrilling, and overwhelming in the best way.
4) Adoption is a much bigger story than just mine and Jill’s part. For our birth mother, this will be the hardest thing she’s ever done—and there’s no guarantee she will be able to do it. We understand that, we are willing to take that risk, and we respect her desire to give her baby a different kind of life than the one she can provide. She is one of the bravest people we have ever met, and we love her.
5) Installing a car seat correctly is slightly more complicated than one might have guessed.
We are figuring out how to exist in this strange, thrilling limbo; following powerful flashes of productivity and thanks to our wonderful community, the nursery is almost done and essential “baby stuff” has been acquired. As eager as we are, I keep trying to remember that liminal space is often the most fruitful—even as it is also the most frustrating.
(my mom sent me this raspberry clafouti recipe years ago–I believe she got it from the NPR website)
Jill and I are definitely in the “it takes a village” camp when it comes to our child-rearing philosophy; we were both raised by villages and feel incredibly blessed to have a fine village of our own who are eager to welcome little Peanut along with us.
One of our “chief villagers” is Jill’s best friend Bonnie. She’s one of the sanest, funniest, and most competent people I know and we are so lucky to have her in our lives! She came over the other night to check out our progress on the nursery (and spoil us with even more gifts), so I made this dessert in her honor because she l-o-v-e-s raspberries.
In addition to being the most fun word to say perhaps ever (clafouti! clafouti! clafouti!), this dessert is like the more sophisticated, French cousin of this blackberry upside down cake. Instead of a cake batter, you make a custard to pour over the raspberries, resulting in an airy, silky mouthful that perfectly complements the delicate texture of the raspberries. Bonnie went back for seconds.
1 pint fresh raspberries, rinsed and patted dry
½ vanilla bean
¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup heavy cream
½ cup sugar, plus a bit more for dusting
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 T vanilla or almond extract*
confectioner’s sugar (optional), to garnish
* the original recipe calls for framboise, or raspberry liquor, but I didn’t have any on hand
Butter a deep, 9-inch pie pan and coat it with granulated sugar (I think I may actually use a 9-inch square pan next time, as my pie pan was quite full when I slid it into the oven). Shake out any excess sugar, then scatter the berries in the bottom of the pan. Place the pan on top of a baking sheet to catch any spills.
Pour the cream and heat into a saucepan, then split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds in, tossing in the whole pod as well. Heat over medium-high until small bubbles just begin to form, then remove from the heat.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs while slowly adding in the sugar. Continue to beat the eggs on medium until thick and pale—this will take approximately 2 minutes. Sift the flour and salt together, then add them to the egg mixture in four batches while beating on low speed.
Slowly pour the milk mixture through a sieve (to catch the vanilla bean), then drizzle into the egg & flour mixture while beating at low speed. Finally, stir in the extract or liqueur of our choice and pour the custard into the pie pan, topping the berries.
Bake the clafouti in the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes or until puffy, browned, and set in the center. Dust with confectioner’s sugar, cut into wedges, and serve warm (we also served it with whipped cream).