Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cherry Clafoutis -- Make this now!

Strawberry season is ending.  After gorging on strawberries,  we’re now in a big cherry season... but it’s peaking. Before they are gone completely, I must follow my annual ritual of making “Cherry Clafoutis.” As a lover of French food, I always make cherry clafoutis at least once this time of the year at home as well as at work. I love all kinds of custard desserts, but this one is very special to me, because of  some unforgettable memories that I don’t want to lose!

Cherry clafoutis is a very popular vanilla-flavored pudding -like dessert  that is best eaten at room temperature. It is studded  with cherries, but many other kinds of fruit can be substituted, such as apricots, raspberries or plums (I have a big plum tree in my back yard; they are ripening and should be ready to eat in a week). For French people this dessert is a must-make, or at least eat, in cherry season!

In France, they normally do not pit the cherries for traditional cherry clafoutis –it is enjoyed with the pits for the added depth to the dessert’s  delicate flavor. However, here in California the sun is so strong and the cherries have so much flavor that I often pit them; and particularly at work, so that I don’t have to warn our guests.

Cherry Clafoutis

Recipe adapted and modified from La Tartine Gourmande, by Béatrice Peltre

Serves 6

You will need:  one 12-inch clafoutis mold or six 8-oz baking dishes (ramekins)

Unsalted butter, for the mold
½ cup blond cane sugar, plus more to sprinkle in the mold(s)
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (200 ml) whole milk (not low fat)
¾ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
¾ cup all-purpose flour (or brown rice or sorghum flour for gluten-free clafoutis)
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 pound + 5 ¼ oz (600 g) ripe sweet or sour cherries (such as Rainier or Bing)
Confectioners’ sugar to dust the custard

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 12-inch mold, or six 8-oz cup ramekins, and sprinkle with the sugar; tap the excess out.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and cream until just about boiling point and add the vanilla. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the sugar and flour. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the warm milk/cream mixture and melted butter. Arrange the cherries in the mold or individual ramekins and pour the batter on top.
  4. Place the clafoutis in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or 25 to 30 minutes if you are using ramekins—until the flan/custard is set and golden in color. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

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