Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Bowl of Cherries

One of the reasons I like Summer is seeing the first crop of cherries coming into the market.  So far, I think I've gone through three or four pounds of them.  I can easily sit at the table and eat one after the other.  I've made my Cherry-Amaretto Syrup, now my favorite topping for French toast, and Cherry Almond Shortbread a couple of weeks ago for Girls' Night.  Yes, I see the pattern...I do love the tastes of cherries and almonds together.

The thought that I couldn't get out of my head was making a cherry clafoutis.  Part of the attraction was it being something that I hadn't made before and well, it was a little exotic.  I was originally under the impression that it was closer to a cake in consistency, but when I started to seek out recipes I saw the comparisons to flan.  Having not been a huge custard fan in the past, I decided it was time to change that.  You know, my egg issues.  I narrowed the choices down to three recipes (Saveur, Epicurious, and Simply Recipes).  I ended up going with the Saveur recipe, incidentally, the one that uses the most eggs.

You'll read that typically clafoutis uses unpitted cherries, so the batter can get a hint of the almond-like flavoring that the pits will release while baking, but I opted for pitting the cherries (by hand, just me and a knife, and some still very stained fingers).  Other than the time it takes to pit the cherries, this will easily come together.  I did it by hand and recommend it if you don't feel like dragging out the mixer.

It's amazing warm, dusted with confectioners sugar, just long enough out of the oven so the batter can set a little bit and nearly as good at room temperature.  Don't make me admit that it was a late lunch yesterday.  (And totally worth it!)

Cherry Clafoutis
(Adapted from a recipe at Saveur)

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract
6 eggs
6 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
2 tbsp bourbon
3/4 cup flour
3 cups cherries, pitted
pinch of salt
confectioners sugar (for dusting)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Grease baking pan, pie plate, or skillet generously.  In a large bowl, whisk together the vanilla extract, bourbon, eggs, sugar, milk, and salt.  Add flour gradually until batter comes together.  

Pour batter into baking dish and scatter cherries in the batter.  Bake for 30-40 minutes  until edges and bottom are golden brown or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  The clafoutis will puff a little while baking and deflate a little once you remove it from the oven.  

Let cool a few minutes before serving.  Dust with confectioners sugar.  

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