Recently while on holiday on wonderful Hornby Island, I decided to use up some cherries that we had bought for the trip. I wanted to make a dessert and needed something simple, easy and with not a lot of ingredients. I wasn’t going to spend my day in the kitchen when the beach and my book were calling my name!
The obvious choice? A Clafoutis. Originally from the Limousin area of France (pretty much right in the middle of the country) it is a pancake like batter poured over fruit and baked in the oven. Traditionally it is made with cherries and served warm with powdered sugar on top.
Save yourself some time and make it the purist way, whole cherries with the pits. It is said the pits add a more rich flavor to the finished product. I think it was just an excuse for the chef not to have to spend the time pitting cherries. I am all for that! But just be sure to warn your guests ahead of time or that could lead to a very uncomfortable end to the dinner. If you are going to serve this to young kids – by all means pit the cherries.
There were a lot of different recipes that I found all over the internet, but finally I settled on a mix of a few versions.
1 1/4 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar, divided
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
3 cups cherries
powdered sugar, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the milk, 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour, and blend. It will be very runny. Don’t worry it is supposed to be like that.
Lightly butter an 8-cup baking dish, and pour a 1/4-inch layer of the blended mixture over the bottom. This is to help keep the cherries slightly elevated off the bottom of and not sink to the bottom when you pour the batter on top. It gives just enough support so once the dish is cooked you get an even sprinkle of cherry juice and color throughout the cake.
Set remaining batter aside.
Place dish into the oven for about 7-10 minutes. Remove the mixture when it is slightly set but not cooked through. Keep the oven on as you aren’t finished yet.
Put the cherries over the set batter in the pan. I like to put them in a nice pattern, but that is just the OCD in me. In the end it doesn’t matter since the batter covers most of those little sweet pieces of fruit.
Sprinkle with the remaining granulated sugar. Pour the remaining batter over the cherries and sugar.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, (mine took 60 minutes) until the clafouti is puffed and brown.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.
Option Two: eat it at room temperature for breakfast.
Oh the French sure know how to eat!