We are back from the lovely land of Australia. We had a fabulous time, and lots of great foodie experiences, leaving me with quite a few posts to catch up on, which will appear here in the next few days.
I have always wanted to have a go at making a clafoutis, and what better opportunity than when you can find large, plump and a deep, deep red cherries? Again, this is a summer dish at it’s best, and the riper you can get the cherries the better.
Clafoutis can also be made with any ripe fresh fruits, although apparently the proper name for those without cherries should be flaugnarde.
Whatever your fruit, and whatever you call it, this is a great way to use up a glut of fruit, as long as they are really ripe.
Traditionally, the clafoutis is served lukewarm, which makes sense when it is the height of summer, as you don’t want a hot pudding for a warm, sticky evening. However, if you want to use winter fruits, like apples or pears, I see no reason that you can’t serve this warm, possibly with a nice custard.
I made this for a friend who is lactose intolerant, so I used soy milk, but you can use whatever you like here.
I hope that you have a go at this dish, it really is so easy, but looks very impressive. Your friends and loved ones will appreciate you for it.
Recipe: Cherry Clafoutis
50 g plain flour
150 ml milk
Pinch of salt
Seeds of half a vanilla pod
Cherries – enough to cover an ovenproof dish or cake tin in a single layer
Heat the oven to 220 °C.
Mix all of the ingredients, except the cherries, into a thinnish batter. Some recipes also call for a little sugar (in the region of a couple of tablespoons). You can add this too, if you want, but I thought that the cherries I was using were quite sweet enough for the whole dish, so I didn’t use any. Leave the batter aside to rest while you prepare the cherries.
The original Limousin dish left the stones in the cherries, which, it is said, impart an almond flavour. I didn’t try this way, because it is a little unseemly to be spitting out cherry pips when you are in company. Instead, I halved and stoned the cherries, then laid them out, flat side down in a baking dish, until the bottom was covered in one layer of cherries.
My friend only had a spring-form cake tin, which I lined with baking parchment as a precaution against spills, which was entirely unnecessary, as it turned out, so just use a cake tin, or any largish baking dish you have to hand.
Tip the batter in and around the cherries. At this stage, it should not cover the cherries over completely, but will almost do so. Don’t worry, they will rise to the top again as the dish cooks.
Put in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the batter looks cooked across the pudding. You want it light and airy, though, not crispy, although slightly crispy edges are almost inevitable.
Dust with a little icing sugar while still warm, and leave to cool before serving. The Big Guy and I had a little natural yoghurt with ours, but my friend eschewed the yoghurt, and ate it au naturel. It is very good either way.