Cherries are one of my favorite fruits, such sweet intensely colored orbs of summer yumminess. Baked into a pie, made into a glaze for meat, or simply the perfect crown for an ice cream sundae, cherries add a tangy sweetness and beautiful color to a dish. And the markets in Paris are overflowing with them. Inspired by a recent Parisian cherry dessert adventure by the very talented Carol Gillott over at Paris Breakfasts, I saved my pound of about-to-shrivel-at-any-moment cherries from a certain fate by making a clafouti (clah-FOO-tee). This custard-style dessert, think flan, is a breeze to bring together and satisfies the sweetest sweet-tooth without being too heavy.
Pitting fresh cherries makes a red, juicy mess, probably because I used the stem of a small meat thermometer to pop out the pits by hand since that’s all I had in the kitchen (inspiration should not be deterred by the lack of “proper” tools); fortunately for us, clever time-saving, nearly mess-free cherry pitters are available.
1 lb. dark cherries, fresh or canned, pitted
2 oz. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 oz. all-purpose flour (roughly 4 well-rounded tablespoons)
Drain cherries and pat completely dry. (I found freshly pitted cherries impossible to get totally dry so don’t worry if yours aren’t.) Arrange them evenly in the bottom of a buttered 10-inch dish. Do not use a springform or removable-bottom tartlet pan because you’ll end up with custard batter all over the counter.
Make the custard by whisking together the eggs and milk. Add the sugar, vanilla extract, and flour and continue whisking until all the lumps are gone.
Pour the custard over the cherries and bake at 325˚F (160˚C) for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The custard should be lightly browned and firm to the touch when done.
Recipe from On Cooking; A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals.
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