14 June 2010
Some of my fondest memories are about a cherry tree. The family farm had the biggest, gnarliest, sweet cherry tree! Huge trunk, large branches that were low to the ground (except when you're 5!) and notches that you could sit in all day, and I did. This cherry tree was magical, full of birds and nests, hiding spots and cool breezes, it was also our favorite spot for family pictures and created many mean pies.
The tree is ancient and now most of the branches have died, but there is still a branch that won't give up. It saddens me to see it so broken and old, yet, it has given so much over the years that we can't help but treasure it today!
As John and I planted a sweet cherry at our place last year, I wanted a special recipe that would highlight my favorite fruit. I will be old (er) before massive production kicks in, but I'm keeping these branches low, so I will always be able to pick cherries!
Clafoutis is a French dessert that I love...not too sweet, bursting with fruit and rich. My favorite recipe comes by way of the French Feasts cookbook and with only a slight variation. Enjoy!
1 pound of sweet black cherries, pitted
1 cup flour
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla
Butter a 7X11 casserole dish (9X13 is a little too big, but 9X9 is too small...you may need to dig in your cabinet for your right size! Add a little time to baking if using a smaller dish, it will still turn out great!) and arrange cherries in it.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, mound flour and mix in the eggs one at a time, not allowing the dough to get lumpy, not all flour can be incorporated. Slowly add some milk to keep batter-like. Stir in 1/4 cup of sugar and extract.
Pour over cherries and bake about 25 minutes until golden brown and puffed up. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with remaining sugar.
Serve at room temperature.
The clafoutis will cut more like a cake than a cobbler and you can totally change the fruit to whatever you like. It also tastes great with a hard sauce poured over it, or a scoop of ice cream!