Wednesday, July 21, 2010
As a rosy-cheeked, bright-eyed college freshman I had a dream. I was going to minor in French and major in business, and then I would study abroad in Paris at least one semester so I could become fluent in the lanuage. All of this would help me tremendously when I made the big post-graduation move to Paris, where I would be a dark-sunglasses and black-heel clad businesswoman by day and elegant pastry chef by night. I don't think I have to tell you that none of that actually happened, do I? It became apparent that I ultimately had no patience for French sentence formation (even after four semesters in high school and three in college) and no aptitude for business calculus (but let me tell you that oh, how I tried, and oh, how I cried a lot, too.)
My obsession with all things French, however, never waned. While I've been lucky enough to visit France I haven't yet made it to Paris. That's okay because there are lots of blogs that let me visit vicariously, such as Chocolate and Zucchini, where I first heard of clafoutis. (All the way back in 2006! Wow.) I was immediately smitten with this beautiful custard cake. While the French are often, um, fussy about some things their food is often quite unfussy. Rustic. Homey, I'd even say, and clafoutis is no exception. While it sounds like it may consist of three flours and two sugars and a glaze made with a liquor you can't buy outside of Europe - it's not. It's simple and summery and only slightly sweet but full of spunk, much like Parisians, or so I hear.
Recipes for clafoutis abound on the Internet because food bloggers have embraced them in every sense of the word. There are sweet and savory versions, and there are strawberry, cherry and peach versions. I went with cherry - clafouti aux cerises - because it's classically French, but the addition of blackberries turns it into a treat fit for the summer months.
Adapted from Food Blogga
The French traditionally leave the pits in the cherries when they bake clafoutis because the pits lend an almond flavor to the dessert. Susan recommends pitting the cherries and adding almond extract to the ingredients (since in America we prefer to keep our teeth.) I didn't have any almond extract so I left it out this time. I don't think it harmed the finished product, but by all means add it if you have it in your cupboard.
1 cup sweet cherries, pitted
1 cup blackberries
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
3 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup sifted, all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9-inch, round baking dish with nonstick spray, then toss in cherries, blackberries and slivered almonds.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, flour and salt until well-combined.
3. Add milk and vanilla to egg mixture and whisk well. Pour wet ingredients over fruit and almonds.
4. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until dessert puffs and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Center will deflate as the dish cools on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
* Recipe corrected to reflect milk! Thanks for noticing. That's what I get for multitasking while I write...