My dear neighbor, Susan, turned fifty this month! You wouldn’t believe it if you saw her!

In February of 2009, Susan’s family helped me organize a fundraiser to benefit a very dear fifteen-year-old boy and his family living with the daily challenges of Cerebral Palsy. David’s health had drastically declined and he was in desperate need of a handicapped accessible van. With the help of a 1950’s Sock Hop, both live and silent auctions, MANY AMAZING individuals and ultimately God’s abundant blessing, David received a brand new shiny, silver Chrysler Town and Country handicapped van with all the bells and whistles! What an awesome God we serve!

Last night we were remembering all of the blessings God had bestowed upon us before, during and after that fundraiser as we sat enjoying our French cuisine-prepared by US! You see, one of the auction items that evening had been a French Cooking Class with me. Susan and her husband, Jim, who had already done so much, were so amazed by David that they really wanted to do more and so they bid on this item and won! It seemed as though every time we’d try to organize this class something would come up, our dates were conflicted or life put this class on the back burner for Susan.

How excited was I to learn of Susan’s upcoming 50th birthday! Jim and Susan have always come up with wonderful birthday plans for one another and this year was to be no exception! Always surprising Susan, Jim thought of several gifts, outings and special family time during the month of November-all celebrating Susan’s fifty years! Making this cooking class happen was to be another of the surprises in store for Susan. She and five girlfriends arrived around 6:30PM last night. The table was set in autumn colors, the food was ready to be prepared and we were all ready for some fun and fellowship!

On the menu was a delicious Pear and Walnut Salad, Coq au Vin with crusty French bread (which we would later use to mop up our Coq au Vin sauce with) and an unbelievable Berry Claufouti that was out of this world…if I do say so myself! : – ) By the way, how ironic was it that it took us a year and half to get this class together, Susan bought the auction item at a 1950‘s Sock Hop and then used the item for her 50th birthday-maybe it’s just me, but I love God winks!

Invite your closest girlfriends over and make this wonderful dessert together! Everyone will just love it…promise!

Berry Clafouti

This berry clafouti recipe, also known as clafouti aux cerises, is the most well-known version of the traditional puffed French custard cake. In France, it is customary to serve clafouti with the cherry pits intact. For ease at the table, and to ensure dental safety, make sure to pit the cherries or forewarn your guests of the tradition. Most traditionalists would have my head on a platter if they read this, but hey, it’s just my opinion! This evening we are using beautiful raspberries and blackberries. Clafouti, one of the simplest French desserts, is considered a fancy ending to any great meal. Add a little dusting of powdered sugar and a dollop of homemade whipped cream and you’re ready for a delicious dessert!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes


1 tablespoon softened butter
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of one orange
Approximately 2 cups of raspberries and blackberries (dark cherries can be used as well)
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar (powdered) for garnish
Whipped cream for garnish


Preheat an oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch by 9-inch square baking dish or a 9-inch deep-dish pie round with the softened butter.

In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, orange zest and whisk away! Next add your flour and salt, whisking until it forms a smooth, thin batter. Spread 3/4 cup of the batter onto the bottom of the prepared baking dish and bake it for 2-4 minutes. Watch the batter closely and remove it before it cooks through completely. It should just start to thicken and set when it is removed from the oven.

Transfer the dish to a heatproof surface and arrange the berries over the hot batter. Carefully ladle the remaining batter over the berries and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cooking some of the batter a little will insure that the berries will not sink to the bottom. I also like using a ladle to pour the rest of the batter so that the berries stay put and behave!

Sprinkle the confectioners’ sugar over the finished clafouti, add a dollop of homemade whipped cream and serve warm.

This berry clafouti recipe makes 8 servings.

Cherries is the traditional fruit of choice, but I have even see this made with clementines! Use your imagination!