Saturday, August 4, 2007
August Baking: Cherry Clafoutis
When I was around six years old, I remember going cherry picking with my parents and older brother. I can still recall how excited I was to pick my own fruit and how, at the end of the day, I was so proud of my big bagful of cherries. Never mind that it was sweltering hot or that there were bees swarming all round me. All I could do was joyfully pick cherry after cherry until both my bag and my tummy were stuffed. These days, I haven't been practicing my cherry-picking skills much. My local farmer's market and grocery store are where I mostly pick up my fruit now. Nevertheless, I was still able to find some luscious summer cherries which I thought would be perfect for this cherry clafoutis recipe. According to dictionary.com, a clafoutis (pronounced klah-foo-tee), is French for a tart made of fruit, baked in a thick, sweet batter. The fruit is traditionally cherries but really, almost any fruit can be used. I loved the ease of this recipe and the fact that it's actually a bit lower in fat was a big plus too. I found it in The Eating Well Dessert Cookbook and it takes very little time to put together. The clafoutis reminds me of a cross between a light bread pudding and a custard. Oh, and it's traditional to leave the pits in the cherries when you bake this, which is exactly what I did. Give it a try and enjoy!
1 pound cherries (leave pits in if you desire)
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons AP flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup evaporated skim milk
Powdered sugar for dusting
1. Place rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a shallow baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the cherries and 1/3 cup sugar in the dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cherries are tender and very juicy (this took about 30 minutes in my oven).
2. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, flour, vanilla and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until smooth. Whisk in the evaporated milk.
3. Drain the juices from the cherries into a small bowl, holding back the fruit with a metal spatula (or use a strainer). Reserve the juices. Redistribute the cherries over the bottom of the dish and pour in the egg mixture. Bake for about 15 minutes or until puffed and set. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm or at room temperature with the cherry juices spooned over the top.
Yields 4 generous servings