A classic French dessert from the Limousin region of France: Cherry Clafoutis done well - full of juicy, sweet black cherries, topped with a light custard, and cooked so it retains just a little wobble, is... well, heavenly. I'll never forget my first clafoutis; a gift from the chef in a little restaurant on a trip interstate; it was love at first bite and I was determined to make one as soon as we returned home. I quickly found there are hundreds, thousands even, of recipes for this dessert around, and I'll admit to baking more than my share utter disappointments - everything ranging from heavy and stodgy, to runny and tasteless...
Fast forward several years and I am so glad I persevered - a large box of the most beautiful, juicy, Tasmanian black cherries arrived on our doorstep today and instantly I knew just what to do with them!
This is the perfect dessert to serve guests - it's ridiculously easy, utterly delicious, and everything can be prepared in advance, so that all you need do is pour a batter over some cherries, bake and serve.
Limousin (Cherry) Clafoutis
Serves 4 - 6
600 g sweet black cherries
3 tablespoons kirsch or amaretto
70 g caster sugar
30 g unsalted butter, melted
200 ml whole milk
70 ml pouring cream
2 free-range, organic eggs
50 g plain flour
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
pinch of sea salt
Wash the cherries, place them in a medium bowl and give them a gentle bash with the end of a rolling pin to break their skins a little. Add kirsch or amaretto and stir through caster sugar. Cover and set aside for 2-3 hours.
Preheat oven to 190C / 170C fan and using a pastry brush, grease a 25-28cm oven-proof tart dish or cast iron skillet with a little of the melted butter.
Mix together remaining butter with milk, cream and eggs. Whisk flour, soft brown sugar, lemon zest and salt in a bowl and gradually beat in the milk mixture till smooth.
Tip the cherries and their juices into the prepared dish and pour over the batter.
Bake in the top half of the oven for about 35-40 minutes, until just set and light brown around the edges, but retaining a little wobble in the centre. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, dust liberally with icing sugar, and serve warm.
C(h)ook's notes -
- To pit or not to pit? Traditionally, the cherries are not pitted (yes!) - they will impart the most beautiful bitter almond-like flavour, but it's a bit fiddly for your guests and could result in a trip to the dentist. I don't, but I'll leave this completely up to you!
- Substitute mixed berries, apples, pears or other in season stone fruit when cherries are unavailable