A sizeable portion of my love for Thanksgiving attaches to the advance planning sessions, the same way that I bask in a vacation more when I’ve spent weeks before studying the beach spots, the good restaurants, and what to wear.
In our imagined version of the holiday, we have unlimited dessert stomachs. Our minds consider a 2 1/2-to-1 proportion of eater to dessert completely normal. In reality, we end up with a lot of sweet leftovers. But we can’t give up our classics, chocolate marquise with mocha cream and apple pie, nor can we reduce the number of favorites that swing through the rotation, pecan pie and pound cake and pumpkin bread pudding.
I’m going to have a hard time keeping this new clafoutis off the buffet table this year. First off, it does the mighty job of bringing chocolate to the Thanksgiving spread. Chocolate is too often missing. Second, it’s really easy. Third, it’s dairy-free, so if anyone has trouble with all the milk, cream, and butter in the feast, this belongs in your dessert course.
I got the idea to use coconut milk in clafoutis when I saw a post on Autumn Makes and Does that mentioned my chocolate chip clafoutis as an inspiration. She said she actually preferred coconut milk to cream in clafoutis. I wanted to add pumpkin in a nod to the season, and I had to keep the chocolate in, because although clafoutis is originally a French dessert whose pancake-like custardy batter surrounds fruit like cherries, I never say no to a fruit-less dessert. Combined, the pumpkin puree and coconut milk are rich but not too rich. If you’re wondering, you don’t taste any coconut flavor here.
The clafoutis resembles the inside of a pumpkin pie, but it’s less jiggly (in a good way). There’s enough flour in the batter that you don’t have to worry about the egg in the custard coagulating. And you don’t have to make a crust.
If you want to check out how to make this gluten-free, visit Autumn’s post. She uses brown rice flour. I haven’t tried it, but if she’s as right about brown rice flour as she is about coconut milk, I say go for it.
Pumpkin & Chocolate Chip Clafoutis
1 tablespoon safflower oil
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 large eggs
1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree from a 14-ounce can
¼ cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for topping
½ cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Lightly whipped cream, for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Oil a deep-dish pie pan or 9-inch skillet. Scatter the chocolate across the bottom.
In a blender, combine all the rest of the ingredients except for the reserved sugar and the flour, and blend until smooth. Add the flour and blend again. Pour into the prepared pan. Let the batter rest in the pan for 15 minutes.
Sprinkle the remaining sugar on top. Bake about 35 minutes, until the clafoutis is set in the center and golden around the edges, about 35 minutes. It will have puffed up, but it will deflate as it cools. Let it cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Top the clafoutis with whipped cream, if desired (of course it’s no longer dairy free then), and scatter the reserved chocolate on top. Serve the clafoutis warm or at room temperature. I usually scoop pieces into individual bowls rather than try to slice it.