Clafoutis is a French dessert in which whole, preferably black, cherries are baked in a thin pancake-like batter. Other stone fruits and berries may be used, but then the dessert should properly be referred to as a flognarde. Clafoutis is a light dessert with delicate tones of almond, lemon and cherry. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm with crème fraîche or cream for dessert . It may also be served for breakfast or brunch, in which case you may prefer to serve it with yoghurt.
The traditional Limousin Clafoutis is made with whole, unpitted cherries so that the cherry stones release a gentle almond flavour as the pudding bakes in the oven. The unpitted cherries bothered my husband intensely so the only way there will be a next time for clafoutis is if I buy or borrow a cherry pitter. I will, however, be game to try a flognarde and right now there are lots of fresh, local berries which could be used in place of the cherries.
Not only have we been sampling new fruit, but we have also been enjoying some local highlights. We went on The Giant’s Lair Story Trail at Slieve Gullion Forest Park which enchanted Rachel and her cousin, Kerry, and then later in the week we enjoyed some fun in the Lazy River and water rides at the Leisure Centre in Lisburn. We also spent some time in the Ulster Museum in Belfast, but we will have to make further trips there in order to enjoy the displays more fully. It was miserably wet when we went to the museum so we decided to leave the Botanic Gardens till another time.
Sahel Family Rating: *
450 g fresh cherries
30 ml castor sugar
30 ml lemon juice
75 g castor sugar
20 g butter, melted
65 g plain flour
pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten
125 ml whole milk
125 ml cream
few drops almond essence (optional)
finely grated zest of ½ lemon
icing sugar, for serving
Wash the cherries and remove the stalks. Mix the cherries with the castor sugar and lemon juice, cover and leave to macerate for two hours.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease a baking dish just wide enough to hold the cherries in one layer and sprinkle with 30 ml castor sugar. Shake the dish around to coat the inside with sugar and shake off the excess.
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt and the remaining castor sugar. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the milk, cream and melted butter, until you have a smooth batter. Stir in the lemon zest and almond essence, if using, and then add the cherries and their juices.
Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for 18-20 minutes, until just set but still a bit wobbly (the blade of a knife inserted in the middle should come out clean). Dust with icing sugar and serve warm.
Adapted slightly from Cherry Clafoutis recipe by Felicity Cloake in The Guardian