This clafoutis recipe is great at this time of year, when cherries are in the supermarkets in superabundance. The punnets are enormous, and several places are offering buy one get one free deals – shop around for your cherries and make sure those you buy are juicy, dark and handsome.
Clafoutis is a traditional dessert from the Limousin region of France, made with fresh fruit (usually cherries) and a thick batter. I’ve made this dish out of season using cherries preserved in kirsch. It’s very delicious that way, but I can’t help finding a clafoutis made with fresh cherries just that bit better. Don’t bother stoning your cherries; they’re a pig to stone (although there is a tool you can buy to help), and the juice from the stoned cherries leaks into the batter. Much better to have a whole cherry burst juicily in your mouth, then spit the stone out, than have it sit there damply, having leaked all its lovely juice pinkly into the rest of the dish.
Credit is due here to Mr Weasel. This is my recipe, but he cooked it because I was busy swearing at a wok full of boiling oil – of which more tomorrow.
To serve six, you’ll need:
4 oz flour
3½ oz caster sugar
2 drops almond essence
½ pint milk
50 cherries (or enough to cover the bottom of your pan)
Preheat the oven to 210°C.
Grease your pan. I used a tarte tatin dish, which is about 10 inches in diameter. Put enough cherries in the bottom of the dish to cover it in a single layer.
Use an electric handwhisk to beat the sugar, almond essence and eggs together. Add the flour to the bowl and drizzle the milk into the mixture, whisking all the time until you have a smooth batter. Pour the batter over the cherries in the dish, and put it in the oven for 45 minutes.
When you remove the clafoutis from the oven, it will have puffed up, a bit like a souffle. Set it aside to subside for a couple of minutes, then dish it up. Serve with cream – and remember not to bite down on the stones.