If you read this blog regularly you’ll know by now that I’m a bit of a sucker for eating ‘pudding’ at breakfast time. A couple of weeks ago it was my Orange Almond Cake and earlier this week it was Blueberry Pie. Now I’m moving on to Cherry Clafoutis.
This gorgeous concoction has its roots in traditional French cooking and always reminds me of a holiday we took in the Loire when the girls were much younger. The area we were staying in was relatively flat but there was a rocky outcrop that we kept driving past. One day we packed up a picnic, French style. It included crusty baguette, cheeses you could smell a mile off, fruit, madeleines and a bottle of gorgeous Normandy cidre. Driving to the top of the rocky outcrop, we picnicked under a single cherry tree, its branches laden down with fruit, enjoying the view of a patchwork of sunflower fields and vineyards laid out below us.
The picnic devoured, we took a walk down the edge of a sunflower field we had been sitting alongside. As we returned we saw two elderly French couples stripping the cherry tree of its fruit. The image of the men in their everyday brown trousers, open neck shirts and caps and the women in the knee length, button up, working dresses that French grandma’s always seem to wear, brown bandy legs poking out the bottom, their feet shod in sensible lace up shoes, has stayed with me ever since.
This cherry clafoutis makes a fantastic weekend brunch whether you are lucky enough to pick the cherries you need for it straight from a tree or have to rely on the local supermarket for your supply. You can whip up the batter the evening before (store it in the fridge overnight). In the morning all you need to do is pour the batter over the cherries and pop the dessert straight into a hot oven.
There are three schools of thought when it comes to the cherries.
Firstly, you can use them whole, stones and all. This is said to give the best flavour, but I can’t be doing with spitting the pips out while I’m eating it!
Secondly, you can pit the cherries. Last year I finally succumbed and bought a cherry pitter and I don’t know why I didn’t get one earlier. It makes pitting the cherries quick, easy and actually quite good fun! If you do buy a pitter (you can buy the model I bought here) make sure you get one with a splatter guard, and pit the cherries straight into a big bowl to save yourself the need to redecorate.
Lastly, ditch the cherries and use blueberries instead. Ok, it won’t make a cherry clafoutis but if you are in a rush it’s a great compromise and just as tasty.
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 350 g cherries (preferably pitted)
- 100 g (½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar + 2 tablespoons
- 300 ml (1¼ cup) milk
- 60 g (½ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 3 eggs
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla
- Pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon kirsch (optional but delicious)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F)
- Using the butter, grease an oven dish in which the cherries fully cover the base in a single layer. Sprinkle the sugar over the butter, tipping the dish so that the butter is well coated. Place the cherries into the dish.
- Place the remaining ingredients into a blender (or use a bowl and stick blender or whisk) and whizz the ingredients until just combined. Pour the batter over the cherries.
- Put the clafoutis into the pre-heated oven and bake for 40 minutes until golden but still wobbly in the centre.
- Dust with icing sugar to serve if you wish.