You might not expect to find a slice of French pastry heaven in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but the truth is the city is experiencing a francophile streak on the dessert scene. One place that stands out is Clafoutis, a French-owned cafe and bakery where everything is very authentic, and very delicious.
As the name might imply, one of their specialties is clafoutis, a brunch-friendly treat which is traditionally made with dark cherries arranged in a generously buttered dish and covered with a thick, flan-like batter. Once baked, the cherries will rise, forming a sort of pockmarked, surface-of-the-moon type texture. It's generally dusted with confectioners' sugar to pretty it up.
At Clafoutis they like to mix things up, so you'll find different versions on the menu depending on the season (while technically clafoutis made with different fruit should be called flaugnarde, I thank them for keeping it simple). On a recent visit, the version du jour was mixed berry.
What a beautiful combination. The texture at the bottom is sort of like that of a crepe or dutch baby, but with the heft and creaminess of custard or flan. The melange of sweet and slightly tart berries was a wonderful complement to all that smooth, rich creaminess. Considering the size of the slice you'll get, it's well worth the $4.50 price tag.
If you're still hungry, it's highly recommended that you linger for one of their light-as-air macarons or one of their beautifully crispy-edged croissants; if you're in the mood for something savory, their croque monsieur is exceedingly satisfying in all its ham-and-cheesy decadence.
Clafoutis402 N. Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501; (map);(505) 988-1809
About the author: Jessie Oleson is a writer, illustrator, gallery owner, and cake anthropologist who runs Cakespy, an award-winning dessert website. Her first book came out in October 2011; she is currently at work on her second book.