Sunday, July 19, 2015

Cherry Clafoutis, a summer classic.

Summer is an amazing season and although I´m not a fan of hot weather, however there are so many beautiful things to do and to enjoy during this season that make up for this annoying detail.

Any visit to the market during summer-time will greet you with a bounty of wonderful fresh fruits; a feast for the senses! As the season progresses different fruits and fruit varieties start to make their way to the market. By late spring and well into summer, fresh cherries can be easily found in Madrid markets. Cherries not only look good and taste great but they are also highly nutritious. With so many cherry varieties from sweet to sour, there's a cherry variety to just about any taste. 

I love all fruits, well almost, but cherries are one of my favorites and hold a special place in my heart. When I was still a kid, I used to pick them fresh from my uncle's orchard which was teeming with cherries, apricots and apples. Anyone who tasted super fresh fruits picked from trees knows that it is quite unrivaled, and until this day I don´t think I have tasted something as delicious as those cherries.

Nevertheless, the Jerte Valley of Spain is very popular for its cherries that are well appreciated and can be found in almost all markets. To make good use of this super fruit in its season and peak of freshness I decided to use it in several recipes starting with a classic: the cherry clafoutis.

Like many great classics, cherry clafoutis is a French dessert that is surprisingly easy to make and can be simply tweaked to meet your taste. The recipe has two main parts, the base and the fruit. The base is very simple and pretty similar to the crêpe batter. Once prepared it is poured over the fruits and the whole thing baked in the oven.

I should note that traditionally the recipe keeps the cherries whole, but I like them pitted. It's really up to you to pit the cherries or not. In case you don't want to pit them, do warn your guests!

For a 22 cm tart pan you need:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 70 g sugar
  • 30 g melted butter
  • 30 g ground almonds
  • 75 g flour
  • 125 ml milk plus 125 ml of cream
  • 350 g  pitted cherries
  • 1 tsp of kirch (optional) and a 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract or 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • dash of salt

First whisk the eggs with the sugar, the kirsh and the vanilla then add the melted butter and whisk again. Fold in the almonds, the flour and the salt. Slowly add the milk and cream while mixing to avoid having  any lumps.
Once you have a smooth batter you just need to pour it over the cherries that you have arranged in the generously buttered tart pan.

Bake for about 10 min at 200C then lower the temperature to 180C and bake for an additional 15 to 20 min.
You need to watch the clafoutis and take it out of the oven when it´s golden brown and still a bit soft in the middle. 

Serve it warm with some vanilla ice cream and a light dusting of powdered sugar. It´s also delicious when it´s cold, but I like to heat for 10 sec in the microwave before enjoying the leftovers!

Enjoy this wonderful classic dessert with its authentic and refreshing taste of summer!

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