Cherry Clafouti-Spring

Cherry Clafouti
During cherry season I’ll devour cherries until I’ve gorged myself silly on them. They are my favorite summer fruit to cook with. Clafouti is a French classic, a specialty of the Limousin region of central France and is my go to dessert for something easy. To make it special and more elegant bake them in individual ramekins. In France they leave the cherry pits in; remove them to save on dental bills! Clafouti is effortless to make and quite versatile you can use whatever fruit is in season. I've used peaches, apricots, plums, pears, and figs to make clafouti and they are all delicious.

Clafouti is as easy as making pancakes! It will puff up quite a bit when it is baking and then collapses as it begins to cool down, so don't be disappointed; it's science! You can serve it warm or at room temperature; I like it best the day it’s made.

This is the perfect dessert for Memorial weekend and it’s great for breakfast too. Describing clafouti is a challenge. It’s a baked custard with a crepe like bottom, cakey edge and custard center filled with kirsch soaked cherries. Larousse refers to it simply as a fruit flan. It's not that simple to me!

6 servings

1 pound red sweet cherries*, pitted (about 3 cups)
3 tablespoons Kirsch (optional)
1 tablespoon plus 2/3 cup sugar, divided
2/3 cup cake flour or all-purpose
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
2 cups organic whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Powdered sugar
Chantilly cream (see recipe)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 10-inch round baking dish; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. If you are baking in ramekins butter and sugar each and place on a sheet pan.

2. Place the pitted cherries in a medium bowl and pour over the Kirsch and some of the 2/3's cup of sugar, mix with a spoon and set aside.

3. Place the remaining sugar, flour, and salt in a large bowl and mix with electric mixer. Beat the eggs and yolk in a separate small bowl. Pour into the sugar and mixture. Mix well for a few seconds on medium speed. Pour in the melted butter then gradually add the milk and vanilla; continue to mix with the mixer to blend all ingredients well. Don’t over mix; it will make the final texture too rubbery.

4. Add the cherries and all the liquid to the batter. Pour into your prepared baking dish(s). Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, rotate 180-degrees, now reduce the temperature to 350°. Bake until the center is set and the edges are golden and puffy about another 20 minutes (if using individual dishes it will take less time).

5. When cool sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with chantilly cream.

*Bing, Sweet Brook, Black Tartarian, or any cherry that has a good balance of sweetness with acidity. Your hometown market will have its on local specialties. The Rainier and other yellow cherries are better for eating out of hand.

Do ahead: You make the batter the day before. It will make a more tender clafouti too.

Adapted from Francois Dionot.

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Copyright © Julie Logue Riordan, Cooking with Julie