My husband, Radd, and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary this past Fall by taking an unforgettable trip to Portland, OR. What an incredible city! One of the many highlights was stumbling upon THE most impressive bookstore I’ve ever set foot in– Powell’s. We wandered it’s labyrinthine rooms, stairwells, and aisles for hours. Though I’d heard buzz about Dorie Greenspan’s new book, it was at Powell’s that I first saw– and of course bought– Around My French Table. It’s one of my favorite cookbooks, so unsurprisingly the plane ride home went far too fast.
This recipe comes from that cookbook. Cherry Clafoutis– a fancy French name for a very simple dessert. A clafoutis (cla-foo-tee) is like a cross between a cake and a custard– almost like a flan. Aside from the cherries, it’s silky and smooth– there’s very little flour, with cream, milk, and eggs as the main ingredients. The traditional French way to prepare this dessert is to leave the cherries whole (including the pits), cover with the batter, and bake. Purists believe the pits add a nutty, more intensely complex flavor. I’ve baked a clafoutis in the traditional method, and yes the flavor was delicious. Despite this, I’ve decided that the reward wasn’t worth the trouble– especially since I wanted my children to be able to eat the dish without me having to worry about them eating a cherry pit. To get that “nutty” flavor without the pit, I added a teaspoon of almond extract.
I enjoy making clafoutis because they’re easy, yet different. No special equipment is required, and the majority of the prep time is in pitting the cherries. And if you don’t have a cherry pitter, no problem. Put a cherry on top of a long-necked bottle and poke through the center with a chopstick– or anything else long and slender. Simple. Enjoy your clafoutis with powdered sugar alone, or ignore those purists and pile a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
The Recipe: Cherry Clafoutis
1 pound sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted
3 large eggs (room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup heavy cream (room temperature, if possible)
1/2 cup 2% milk (room temperature, if possible)
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350°F and place rack in the center. Liberally butter a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan (or another baking pan with a 2-quart capacity).
Place the cherries in a single layer into the pie-pan.
Whisk the eggs, in a medium bowl, (note: to get eggs to room temperature more quickly, place them in a bowl of warm water for about 5 minutes) until they’re foamy, then add the sugar and whisk for another minute. Whisk in the salt and the vanilla and almond extracts. Add the flour and whisk vigorously (when adding flour to baked goods, normally you should be gentle — this is an exception) until the batter is smooth. While still whisking, gradually pour in the milk and cream and whisk until blended. Tap the bowl on the counter to remove any air bubbles and pour the batter over the cherries.
Bake the clafoutis for 35-45 minutes, or until it’s puffed and lightly browned, and most importantly, a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the clafoutis to a cooling rack and allow it to cool until it’s barely warm, or until it’s room temperature.
Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve with whipped cream or ice cream. This dessert is best eaten on the day it is made, however, leftovers should be covered and chilled. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table
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