Apricot Almond Clafoutis with Marzipan (gluten-free)

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Apricots are now becoming plentiful and inexpensive at farmer stands and markets where I live in the Moravian region of Czech Republic. I couldn’t resist buying a huge bag, so baking with some was a must. A Czech recipe I found inspired me to make this lovely clafoutis (sometimes spelled “clafouti”), full of almond flavors to compliment the apricot beauties. Of course such a dessert is best with some nice almond liquor involved, and it also includes little bundles of marzipan throughout.

I’m a big fan of anything custard-like, so I obviously enjoy clafoutis of various sorts. I posted a recipe for an Almond Berry Clafoutis in the past, which is slightly thickened with a bit of wheat flour. However, this apricot almond version uses only ground almond flour in its place, making it gluten-free. One could exclude the marzipan from the recipe, but I strongly advise not to, because it’s so so good! The recipe only requires about 50 g (2 oz), so a small store bought pack is more than enough. Or if you want to make homemade marzipan, check out the recipe in my post Marzipan Hedgehogs. My blog contains four different recipes that include marzipan, so ideas for any excess are here. Yes, I’m a big fan!

Apricot Clafouti ingredients display

Apricot Almond Clafoutis with Marzipan (gluten-free)

Ingredients (6 to 8 servings):

  • 8 to 10 small/medium apricots, halved and pitted
  • 2 tablespoons of almond liquor (i.e. Amaretto di Saronno or other), separated
  • 5 tablespoons granulated or cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) light cream (10% milk fat)
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) whole milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 80 g (hair under 3 oz) almond flour (finely ground almonds)
  • 50 g (2 oz) prepared almond marzipan

Procedure:

Apricot Clafouti marinadeStep 1 – Wash, dry, then halve the apricots and remove and discard the pits. On a rimmed plate or dish, big enough to hold them mostly single layer, put the apricot halves cut side up and then evenly drizzle them with 1 tablespoon of the almond liquor. Let sit to marinade for 30 minutes.

Step 2 – In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, cream, milk, eggs, vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of the almond liquor.  Add the almond flour (finely ground almonds) and mix again. The batter will be thin. Let the batter rest as you proceed with next steps.

Apricot Clafouti marzipan in centersStep 3 – Preheat the oven to 200 ˚C (395 ˚F). Thoroughly grease the inside of a baking dish with butter. You can use a 9.5-inch deep dish round pie plate or similar capacity dish (7 min to 9 cups). I used a 26 cm long x 17 cm wide x 5.5 cm deep rectangular casserole. Arrange the liquor marinated apricots on the bottom of the baking dish, cut sides up, leaving any marinating liquor aside. Then mix the reserved marinating liquor into the rested batter and let rest briefly again.

Step 4 – Take the prepared marzipan and lightly press a small piece (~ 1/2 teaspoon worth) into each apricot half, where the pits used to be. When they’re all filled, pour the completed batter over the apricots, smoothing down any froth or bubbles, as possible.

Apricot Clafouti batter over fruitStep 5 – Put clafoutis in the oven and first bake for 15 minutes at preheated temperature (see Step 3), and then turn down the oven to 185 ˚C (365 ˚F) and bake about 25 to 30 minutes more, when the top is nicely browned. Remove from oven and put the baking dish on a rack to cool. The clafoutis height will deflate slightly as it cools. Once cooled, refrigerate if not serving immediately.

Before serving, you can dust the top of the clafoutis with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve each piece with whipped cream (my favorite), sour cream or plain yogurt.

Refrigerate leftovers as you’d do with any other custard-based dessert.

Leftover poppy seed or walnut filling muffins

What can I do with leftover poppy seed filling or nut filling? These muffins may be your answer! They are quick and easy to make and even freeze well. I had some of both of these fillings leftover after making filled Czech Christmas cookies. Other recipes that may leave such leftovers include Czech kolache (koláče), filled sweet yeast-based buns (buchty), or even strudel (závin).

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Psaníčka, Šátečky a Koláčky (Envelopes, Scarves & Koláčky Cookies)

Left to right: Koláčky, Envelopes, Scarves, & Triangles with various fillings

These filled cookies are another recipe including farmer cheese (tvaroh). The individual names only refer to the styles of folding the dough around their fillings – their shapes. The dough is the same for all. You can choose the filling(s) and mix and match between different folds/shapes. The main sweetness for the cookies comes from the traditional Czech fillings and later confectioner’s sugar dusting.

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Marzipan Stuffed Dates with Candied Fruit (Plněné datle)

Dates are popular treats at Christmas time throughout the world. It’s definitely the case in Czech Republic, where I’ve seen beautiful ones in holiday baking sections at grocery stores. Here they are stuffed with marzipan that has a bit of orange essence, and then top with candied fruit, another ingredient you see a lot of in Czech stores around the holidays. Though any candied or dried fruit works well, I particularly love to use the combination of candied orange peel and halved dried cranberries on top. If you have the marzipan ready and handy, these are quick to make.

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Marzipan Cookies with Nuts (Marcipánové cukroví s ořechy)

These no bake “cookies” have a marzipan base, simply topped with a nut and chocolate. Walnuts on top are particularly lovely and hide the small bit of chocolate used to paste it on top. However, other nuts, including whole large almonds, could be used. The marzipan itself can be further flavored, as desired, or left “as is”. The cookie shape is often like a flower, but any semi-round shape will work. The recipe below makes about 30 to 35 small cookies.

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Masarykovo Cukroví (Masaryk’s Cookies)

No, I didn’t eat all of those cookies in one sitting. LOL! Just a couple.

These simple shortbread type cookies are sort of the Czech equivalent of Pecan Sandies in the US. The main difference is the use of whole hazelnuts/filberts, instead of pecans. Hazelnuts (called “lískové oříšky” in Czech) are quite popular in Czech desserts. They also add unique circles in each cookie slice. Beyond the time it takes for the dough to chill and cookies to bake, the preparation process is quick and and very easy.

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Plněné Ořechy (Stuffed “Nut” Cookies)

Would you like a nut…cookie?

Christmas cookie making gone nuts? Well, I guess you could say, “Yes!” These Plněné Ořechy (stuffed nut-shaped cookies) are usually reserved for more ambitious Christmas cookie making, but it’s quite a pleasure when they appear on the cookie tray. They are meant to look like a nut (most often walnut) and to celebrate their wonderful flavor. A final decoration with either chocolate on the ends, or simply a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, is optional. “Stuffings” can vary according to taste or nut shape. Here I continue the nut flavor, but with a touch of rum.

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History of Vánočka (Czech Christmas Bread)

“Vánočka” is a very large semi-sweet braided Czech Christmas bread that is the symbol of Christmas in Czech Republic. It’s a treat you can see in nearly every Czech household, just prior to and/or during the Christmas holidays. Its name derives from the very word for Christmas in Czech, which is “vánoce”.

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Czech Christmas Bread (Vánočka) – Traditional yeast-raised

Using yeast is the most common approach to making Czech Christmas bread (Vánočka). It requires two separate risings during the preparation process. From beginning to end, set aside at least 4 ½ hours to make. This recipe makes a long loaf with between 16 and 20 servings.

For a brief history of this Czech holiday staple, see my post Vánočka (Czech Christmas Bread) – Brief history and recipes. It references the recipe below, as well as an appealing yeast-free version that includes farmers cheese. Enjoy!

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Czech Farmers Cheese Christmas Bread (Tvarohová Vánočka)

This is a variation on the beloved Czech Christmas sweet bread (Vanočká) that is usually made with yeast. Instead, this version uses baking powder and other leavening agents. It also includes soft-style farmers cheese (měkký tvaroh), which increases its richness and gives its inside a slightly softer texture. It is quicker to make than its yeast-raised cousin (soon to also be posted), only requiring about 2 hours or less, from start to finish.

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