I’ve been popping cherries in my mouth all the time this week! Thanks to my friend Meghana, we went cherry picking last weekend and brought back a huge bag of gorgeous red and black cherries.
The cherry season was at its peak in Brentwood and it was the perfect time to go there and have some fun in the sun. During the couple of hours we spent at the ranch, we plucked a few pounds of their juicy, sweet cherries to bring back home and ate almost equal amounts the same time right from the trees!
After sharing a few bags with friends and family and snacking on those sweet-tart cherries all week long, there were a few more sitting in the refrigerator. To make the most of the cherry season in my house, I thought of opening my cooking school binder and make a cherrylicious dessert that I learnt to make in my very first class – a Cherry Clafoutis.
Light, not-to-sweet and bursting with a juicy surprise in every bite, this French custardy tart comes from the Limousin region in France and is traditionally made with black cherries. The cherries bake in a cake-like batter made with eggs, cream, sugar and flour. You’ll find a lot of variations, made with all kinds of fruit like the different berries, apricots, peaches and even apples or pears. So, even if you didn’t go cherry picking yet this summer, then try to go or just grab some from the supermarkets and enjoy this simple and elegant French dessert at home!
1 lb black cherries, pitted (or any other fruit like blueberries, peaches, pitted apricots, ripe pears or apples, cored and cut into thin slices)
¾ cup all purpose flour
¾ cup sugar + some more for flouring the ramekins or baking dish
1 cup (8 fl oz) heavy/light cream
2 tsp vanilla extract (you can also use vanilla seeds scraped from the bean)
1 tbsp brandy (optional)
butter, for buttering the baking dish or ramekins
confectioners’ sugar, for serving
In a medium bowl, combine flour and sugar and set aside.
In another small bowl, whisk eggs, cream, vanilla extract and brandy (if using) until well blended. Pour it into the bowl with sugar and flour mixture, whisking continuously till it forms a smooth batter. Let it rest for about half an hour.
Preheat oven to 400 deg F.
Butter and flour a 2 quart baking dish or 6 individual ramekins. Place the fruit in it and set aside. (If you are using apples or pears, sauté them in butter over medium heat until they light golden brown, for about 7-10 mins. Sprinkle 2-3 tbsp sugar, (brown sugar recommended) and continue sautéing for 3-5 mins longer. Cool completely and then place in the ramekins or baking dish)
Pour the batter over the cherries or fruit in the ramekins or baking dish and bake for 30-35 mins, until the batter rises and cooks and the surface has a light brown color. (Don’t worry if the clafouti rises and seems like falling out of the ramekin while baking. It will fall back in the ramekin after removed from the oven and slightly cooled)
Sprinkle confectioners’ sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.