Monday, July 9, 2007

Cherry Clafouti

Cherry Clafouti

Remember when I said the best thing about living in the Pacific Northwest was the salmon? Well it's a tie between the salmon and the cherries. Washington state is the top cherry grower, producing about 50% of the nation's supply. Oh how I love the cherries; I look forward to them every summer. A few years ago my dad and I bought a bag of the biggest Bing cherries I'd ever seen, they were the size of ping pong balls I want to say (okay maybe a tiny bit smaller than ping pong balls but they were big!), and were soooo sweet. Every summer since then we would talk about those cherries and how we regret only buying one bag. "Hey remember those cherries we got a few years ago?" "Yeah... *wistful sigh*" I have yet to find cherries that big again. Anyways, now that we're in the middle of cherry season, which thankfully is very long (from early June to mid August), Bettina and I pretty much eat, sleep, and breathe cherries. Seriously we sometimes go through about a pound a day, each! The ones that escaped our cherry pillage ended up in clafoutis. Though in the end, I prefer my cherries uncooked but this was a classic French dessert that I wanted to try.

The clafouti is a custard-like dessert that originated in the province of Limousin in central France. Traditionally it's baked with whole, unpitted cherries because the heat releases more complex fruity and almondy notes from the pit. This is Julia Child's recipe (I mean how can you go wrong with a recipe from Julia Child?) with some minor changes. I added some almond extract to enhance the natural almondiness. The main flavor component of cherries comes from benzaldehyde, which is the same chemical as imitation almond extract (okay no more chemistry I promise). The cherries were also very sweet so I cut the sugar amount in half. You can serve clafoutis as dessert or eat them the next morning as breakfast, like Helen's grandfather.

Cherry Clafouti
Adapted from Julia Child
serves 6-8

1 1/4 cups milk, whole milk preferably
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
2 - 3 C cherries (unpitted)
Powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Beat the eggs, sugar, salt, and extracts, then add the milk, and finally whisk in the flour. Add some cherries to individual ramekins*, don't crowd them too much, leave a little room for the batter. Depending on the size and height of your ramekins it can make about 5 - 8 servings.

Pour the batter over the cherries, bake the clafoutis until it looks golden brown, somewhat puffy, and the center is set, about 20 - 30 minutes.

Serve warm with powdered sugar dusted on top.

*The ramekins I used ended up being a bit too small, I baked 2 in these oval fluted creme brulee ramekins and 4 in round ramekins with taller sides.

Helen's Mirabelle Clafoutis
Bea's Chocolate and Cherry Clafoutis (a twist on the Black Forest cake)
Dorie Greenspan's Cherry Clafoutis adapted by Anita


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I envy you Pacific Northwesterners your abundant cherries! A those little baby claufouti are adorable.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

We drove through the Northwest on our honeymoom 39 years ago and bought the best ever cherries at a little roadside stand! We're still talking about them.

Anonymous said...

I would love to live where you live... I can just imagine how wonderful these cherries must be!

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Oooh, I made cherry and cinnamon jam the other day b/c my cherries weren't so sweet, but I got another bag my auntie gave me I can make this!

Did you know the Bing cherry was invented by a Chinese American in Oregon? :)

Helene said...

Wow! Those cherries are amazing! Great looking clafouti! My grandfather would be tickled just knowing he is on a blog other than mine!!

Patricia Scarpin said...

I have never had clafoutis but have heard a lot about it, Amy - yours is one I'd love to try!

Anonymous said...

My MIL always make this every cherry season :) and the cherries are direct from the cherry tree in the garden :)

WokandSpoon said...

Hello, I love clafouti! And either your ramekins are really little or thos cherries are huge! ;-)

Cheryl said...

Lucky gal that you get such beautiful cherries. That is just beautiful.

Amy said...

But I envy the New Englanders and their lobsters! :D

There are still lots of roadside fruit stands here. The fruit is amazing!

Although I complain a lot about the rain, I really love it here. :)

Yum cherry jam! And how interesting, I didn't know that!

I agree with you that he's really on to something by eating clafoutis for breakfast.

I'll save a few for you anytime. :)

Cooking Ninja,
A cherry tree! I'm so jealous.

Wok and Spoon,
Not to worry, the ramekins were really tiny, the cherries were normal size. :D

Thanks! I'm so lucky to live here.

Peabody said...

Let us not forget our hazelnuts and apples too!

Anonymous said...

Send some cherries over to California. Since last week, have seen less and less of those ping-pong cherries. Missing them so much. Your cherries look so huge and plump :D
I want!

Anonymous said...

I want me some clafoutis! this is gorgeous,Amy! I definitely see myself eating this as breakfast.

Mehgan said...

Hi, I tagged you in my most recent blog post. Check it out here:

Amy said...

Ah yes that's right I love the apples too! I had no idea hazelnuts were a major crop though. Good to know since I love hazelnuts!

I envy the plethora of California's produce though!

Thanks! Clafoutis for breakfast sure beats cereal and milk. :D

Thanks for the tag! I'll work on the meme soon. :)

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Beautiful! You make me want to make that right now. Except the part about turning on the oven. :-)

mountainear said...

That clafouti looks brilliant. Could eat some NOW!

Anonymous said...

These are utterly adorable! You should submit them to the Root Source Challenge...

Lisa said...

Your clafoutis were amazing! I halved the recipe and baked two in teacups for my blog (along with 3 ramekins) - they were just so tasty and adorable! Thanks for a wonderful recipe.


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