Cherries are now in season here in Bombay (and possibly other parts of the country too). I’ve never been a big fan of Indian cherries as they always seem to cook in a bland way and lose flavour and colour. This season however, has seen the plumpest, darkest cherries ever.I first made a cherry galette, which is nothing but a pastry base (you can use the one from my Mulberry Pie recipe), with a frangipane paste (made with egg white, almonds, sugar and flour) with the cherries strewn over it. The edges are folded up over the cherries and pleated.
So then I decided to make a clafoutis next. A clafoutis is a fairly easy thing to prepare. It’s a one-dish wonder of sorts, which is always a good thing in a tiny kitchen like mine. It doesn’t call for any fancy separating of eggs and whisking of whites either.
However, the first time I made it, I underestimated the viscosity of the batter and used a springform tin, which let the batter leak from the bottom and create a pretty horrible mess. The clafoutis also stuck to the tin while I was de-tinning it and the thing broke quite horribly.
Many recipes recommend leaving the seeds in while making the clafoutis. Apparently the seeds impart an almond like flavour to the cherries. This is true. I left the seeds in the version you see above and the cherries did have this delicious almond touch to their sweetness. I really didn’t enjoy having to pick the seeds from my mouth with each slice I ate, so I decided to pit them the next time around.
To make up for the loss of the almond flavour, you could pit the cherries and soak them in a peg or two of Amaretto, but since I didn’t have any Amaretto at hand, I decided to soak them in red wine, sugar and cinnamon (to spice the flavour up just a bit).
This recipe is super easy, it just takes about twenty minutes to put together (all the more reason to try this out). It works faster if you follow the following steps:
- Mise en place: measure out the ingredients, ready the vessels and implements you need (a bowl, whisk, flexible spatula). Butter and freeze the baking dish/tin. Soak the cherries in the wine mixture the night before (though you could also do this a few hours before baking).
- Prep: preheat the oven to 200ºC, start assembly. If you don’t want to preheat for twenty minutes, remember to turn the oven on halfway through the assembly (10 minutes).
- Bake: shove the assembled dish/tin with the batter and cherries into the oven and bake for 40 minutes, watching for the colouring of the surface. My oven is super tiny, so I turned off the upper heating element around 20 minutes in and turned it back on for the last five minutes to ensure a nice golden crust.
Because the batter isn’t aerated much with whisking, the clafoutis doesn’t have a texture and crumb similar to a cake. It’s actually a more even silky sort of consistency (this did surprise me, which is why I mention it here), but is still quite nice .
Cherries are probably going to remain in season a few weeks more, so buy a couple of boxes and give this recipe a shot this weekend!
340g cherries (weighed un-pitted)
½cup red wine
3 tablespoons sugar
A few sticks of cinnamon
For the Clafoutis batter
80g sugar (powdered)
76g butter, melted
250ml whole milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon rum (optional)
- Pit the cherries and layer them in a bowl. A layer of cherries, then a tablespoon of sugar and a stick of cinnamon, then another layer of cherries, then sugar and cinnamon and another, before piling on the last lot of cherries. Pour the red wine on the cherries and soak overnight (or a few hours prior to baking).
- Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC.
- Sift the flour into a bowl. Make a little pit in the middle of the mound.
- Whisk the eggs with the sugar and melt the butter. Pour the eggs, melted butter, milk and vanilla into the flour pile and stir till just incorporated.
- Butter a 8″ or 9″ baking pan (a springform will not work here because the batter isn’t viscous enough to stay in without leaking) and pour the batter in.
- Drain the wine from the cherries and carefully spread them on the surface of the batter (don’t drop them in all at once), one by one.
- Bake for 40 minutes, till the top is nice and golden.
- If you want to be fancy, drizzle some powdered sugar on top before you serve.
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