Matthew Accarrino cleverly adds juicy fresh figs to this delicious pancake-like French dessert, then tops it with port-infused whipped cream. Slideshow: Beautiful French Desserts
In a small saucepan, combine the port with the sugar and orange zest strip and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl and let cool. Discard the orange zest and refrigerate until chilled.
In a medium bowl, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Drizzle in 1 1/2 tablespoons of the port syrup and whip the cream until firm. Refrigerate the whipped cream and remaining syrup separately.
In a blender, combine the half-and-half with the 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and the eggs, vanilla, orange zest and salt. Add the flour in 3 batches, pulsing for 10 seconds between additions. Let the clafoutis batter stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425. Brush a 9-inch baking dish or cast-iron skillet with melted butter and dust with granulated sugar. Pulse the batter once more and pour it in the dish. Set the figs, halved sides up, in the dish.
Bake the clafoutis for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375. Bake for 20 to 25 more minutes, until the top is lightly golden and the custard is just set. Let the clafoutis cool for 5 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm, passing the port cream and the remaining port syrup at the table.
The port syrup can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
For a wine match, Shelley Lindgren looks to Madeira, which often has dried-fruit notes. She opts for the 10-Year Broadbent Madeira; Justino’s 3-Year Fine Rich Madeira would also be delicious.