Saturday, July 19, 2008
Cherry Season - Cherry Clafoutis
I do love cherries. The season is so short, which makes me eat all I can, while I can. My mom used to can cherries in sugar syrup when I was a child, but I never liked them that way - only fresh. So I was a little hesitant to try this recipe, since it involves cooking the cherries. But, oh my goodness - it's delicious. We had it for dessert last night and then I ate the rest for breakfast.
The recipe is from the Chez Panisse Cookbook, by Alice Waters. The sauce that goes with it makes the dessert, in my opinion. Sweet cherry flavour with a bit of sharp lemon in contrast. So very good.
1 pound sweet cherries (preferably Bing), washed and pitted ( I used about 1 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
pinch ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I substituted a splash of kirsch)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup cream
a pinch salt
powdered (confectioners') sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a baking pan large enough to hold the cherries loosely in a single layer. Prepare the cherries and arrange them in the pan. Sprinkle with with lemon juice, zest, cinnamon, and (1/3 cup) sugar. Bake until the fruit is tender, about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Butter another gratin dish large enough to hold the cherries in a single layer, or use four individual gratin dishes. Drain the cooked cherries, reserving their juice in a small saucepan. Arrange the cherries in the bottom of the baking dish. Beat together the egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Beat in the flour, vanilla, almond extract, and cream. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form soft peaks. Stir a little of the whites into the batter, and then carefully fold in the rest. Pour the batter over the fruit in the baking dish, letting a little fruit show through the top.
Bake for 20 minutes, until browned on top. The cherries will peek through. Dust it with powdered sugar and serve warm. (Or cold for breakfast!)
For the sauce, use the drained juices from roasting the cherries. If it seems too thin, reduce the sauce in a pan. The consistency was just right for me without any reduction.
Just a note - I found the recipe quite sweet and would use less sugar in the batter - maybe 1 Tablespoon, or none at all because the cherries are sweet.