Thursday, June 18, 2009

french food i did not eat in france: cherry clafoutis

I have been terribly neglectful of this blog since I've been back, I know, but I have been busy busy busy shooting a show and cursing the rain and my brain has not been in a place of writing. I have also been somewhat neglectful of my kitchen, what with leftovers coming home with me at the end of many of my days on set. I have been able to do a little culinary dabbling on the weekends, and I find myself trying out recipes for dishes that I should have eaten in Paris but didn't have a chance to. There were only so many hours and so many foods that I could stuff into myself at a time. So here is one classic French dessert that I should have stuffed: clafoutis.

Clafoutis is a baked fresh fruit custard, traditionally featuring fresh sweet cherries. Apparently the original version included whole unpitted cherries, the pits lending a mild almondy flavor when baked. These days, however, most recipes call for pitted cherries, probably because one too many hosts neglected to mention the pits and had an unhappy guest with a chipped tooth. To make up for the missing almond flavor, this recipe includes slivered almonds and a touch of almond extract. Clafoutis is incredibly simple to make, and yet seems like a complicated dish. The result is like a cross between a tart and a custard. Though it all starts out as one batter, the baking process seems to create two distinct textures; an almost cakelike crust along the bottom and sides, with a layer of light custard and fruit floating above it. J-Cat usually doesn't like eggy custards, but he loved this dessert for the almond flavor and the fact that the custard was so delicate and not eggy at all. This is the time for fresh cherries, so I cannot recommend this recipe more. Just be careful pitting those cherries, I'm still cleaning the dark red juice off of my kitchen...

Adapted from Simply Recipes

1 pint fresh sweet cherries, pitted
1/4 cup sliced almonds
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
pinch salt
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsps vanilla extract
powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9x13 baking dish. Layer the pitted cherries and almond slivers in the bottom of the dish. Whisk together the eggs, sugars, flour, and salt. Add the milk and extracts and whisk until well combined. Pour slowly into the baking dish. Bake for 40-50 minutes until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. It may still wiggle a bit in the middle but that is fine. Remove and set to cool on a wire rack. This is especially delicious served a bit warm, dusted lightly with powdered sugar.


~Molly~ said...

A friend of mine used to bake me awesome birthday "cakes" each year and once she made a clafoutis aux pruneaux. My husband and I LOVED it and then I LOST the recipe!! Nothing online was ever the same but yours has restored my faith and I want to try the cherry version, lol.

Your trip sounds divine!


Leah said...

I love clafoutis. I'm going to try this upstate--for some reason, although the produce isn't usually that spectacular up there, the cherries are always firm and super-sweet.

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