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.

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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Marzipan Hedgehogs (Marcipánoví Ježci)

Marzipan M2 version
Marzipan hedgehogs with marzipan Christmas tree and marzipan candy star “gifts”

Czech Christmas Cookie/Confection #9

These cute little hedgehogs are not my mother-in-law’s creation, but I couldn’t resist including them in my Czech Christmas cookie countdown. Actually, they’re not really cookies either, but candy confections. Many Czechs (and other Europeans) love both marzipan confections and hedgehogs – animals that can occasionally be seen in rural areas of Europe. If you like, you can use some of the marzipan to make other shaped things, as I did in the photo above. Marzipan can be colored with gel food coloring, and decorated in many ways. It can also be used in recipes like sweet breads, baked cookies, and more. This recipe makes about 12 oz (350 g) of marzipan. These marzipan hedgehogs are not baked. Continue reading