They called to me from the fruit section of our local farmers market. I tried to resist, but their red juicy lusciousness kept beckoning: Buy us, buy us, we’re in season!
So I relented.
Now, what was I going to do with a pint of sour cherries? As it is with so many other pitted fruits, cherries make my mouth itch and sometimes give me hives. And, if I ignore these early warning signs, I’ve been known to start yacking like a cat with a hairball. Not pretty. Not pretty at all.
Not one to be daunted by a little scratching and yacking, I had discovered over the years, that I could enjoy these tart summer delicacies if I ate them stewed or in baked goods. So my answer was clear: I’d make Clafoutis!
Clafoutis (pronounced kla-foo-TEE) is a rustic-looking, French country dessert that I first discovered in Elizabeth Bard’s delightful blog, Lunch in Paris. It is so easy to bake that even I can’t screw it up. A kind of a pudding with a pancake-like crust, it is traditionally made with the first cherries of the season and often eaten for breakfast. Mmm, mm good.
(Based on a Ruth Reichl recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook)
1 ¼ lbs fresh sour cherries
½ cup plus 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
4 large eggs (organic if you can)
1 cup whole milk
½ – ¾ cups all-purpose flour, depending on texture preference.*
¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp kirsch or brandy (I used grand marnier, which was all I had)
½ tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
Garnish: confectioners’ sugar
Preheat over to 400° and move rack to the middle of the oven. Butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish or, better yet, a cast-iron frying pan.
Toss cherries with 1 tbsp sugar and spread evenly in pan.
Combine eggs, milk, flour, salt, butter, liquor, extracts, and remaining ½ cup sugar in food processor and blend. Pour batter over cherries.
Bake clafouti until puffed and golden, 35 – 45 minutes. Cool slightly on rack (clafouti will sink a bit as it cools) and serve warm, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
*Less flour is more traditionally French, however I prefer my clafouti to be more cakey than eggy, so I use 3/4 cups flour.