Fresh Sweet Cherry Clafouti
It is cherry season ... finally! It is hard to resist those beautiful, round, amber-colored jewels. Although sweet cherries were really created by Mother Nature to eat plain - crisp and cold, straight from the fridge - undoubtedly, there are some that just arn't perfect, or you just need a a new way to use a few of them and share them with friends.
I told my husband that this dish was considered a "traditional peasant dish" in France. He laughed his head off. "Yeah, those peasants had a lot of extra time on their hands, didn't they?" he replied.
Okay, so maybe this dessert (which is a cross between a flan and a custard) may be a tad bit of effort, but the results are spectacular. Keep in mind the cherries were traditionally put into the dish unpitted, perhaps saving the French peasant a tad bit of precious time to slop the sows and thresh the wheat.
Clafouti is a simple and classic way to enjoy many types of fresh fruit. Quick and easy, feel free to substitute sliced pears, peaches or plums - with equally delicious results.
3/4 cup pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup superfine sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 1-1/2 pounds fresh, dark sweet cherries, washed and pitted
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons granulated superfine sugar
2 tablespoons crumbled rose biscuits
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the cooking rack in the center of the oven.
2. To make the batter, combine flour, salt, eggs, sugar, milk, cream and vanilla in a food processor and blend on high until smooth.
3. In a large, cast iron or other non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Make sure the melted butter coats the sides and bottom of the skillet as it melts. When butter is completely melted and hot, add cherries, and cook until the cherries become softer and are well coated - about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the cherries with sugar and continue to cook another few minutes until a sugary syrup forms.
4. Arrange cherries evenly around the skillet, and pour batter over cherries. Place skillet in oven and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the clafouti is puffy and is nicely golden brown, and the batter is well set.
5. Remove from oven, sprinkle with rose biscuit crumbs and serve warm.