French women are famously fastidious eaters, as we all know. Unless faced with this clafoutis, that is, in which case all bets are off. Recently I watched two women (for some reason clafoutis is considered to be kind of a feminine dessert) delicately sigh their way through generous servings, and then, apologizing just a little, just for form’s sake really, dive right in to seconds.
I had always found clafoutis ( pronounced klah-foo-tee) to be a bit insipid; after all, it’s more or less fruit baked in pancake batter. But this time, combining two different recipes that I found on the French website Marmiton.org I made the queen of clafoutis, a memorable clafoutis that will enchant all cherry lovers and encourage them to excessive consumption. After all, cherries are only once a year, and it’s our duty to eat as many of them as possible during that sweet season.
The French believe that leaving the pits in the cherries makes the clafoutis more flavorful. It’s certainly easier on the cook, and provides lots of opportunity for playful pit-spitting and juicy red fingers when you serve the dessert. The squeamish may pit their cherries, but if you want the real deal, leave your cherries intact. As it were.
For the cherries:
1 1/2 lbs perfectly ripe cherries, stems removed, unpitted
1 T butter
1 T sugar
For the batter:
2 egg yolks
a pinch of salt
5 T flour
5 T sugar
2 ounces butter
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
extra butter for topping
In a large non-stick pan melt the 1T butter and 1T sugar. Add the cherries and let them slowly caramelize over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the juices begin to run and the cherries look glazed, about 10-15 minutes. Butter a 9×13″ pan and place the cherries in it, distributing them evenly.
Preheat oven to 350° and while the cherries are cooling a bit, prepare the batter. Melt the butter in a small pan or bowl and set aside. Beat the eggs well with the salt, using a whisk. Beat in the sugar, then sprinkle in the flour while continuing to whisk until batter is smooth.
Mix together the milk, melted butter, and vanilla and add it to the dry mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter carefully over the cherries in the pan, being careful to keep the fruit evenly distributed. Generously dot the top with little slivers of butter. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top is puffed and deeply golden. Serve warm or at room temperature, warning your guests about the pits.