The arrival of cherries, for me, marks the true arrival of summer. In the UK, summer is a fleeting season that should be celebrated with equally bright and ephemeral berries and fruit. Cherries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, plums, all should be unapologetically brandished in tarts, pies, galettes, or even simply macerated and adorned with a dollop of whipped cream.
A clafoutis is a simple baked custard that lets the fruit shine. Clafoutis originates from the Limousin region of France, renowned for its agricultural products. Traditionally, cherries are baked into the clafoutis without pitting them, lending a bitter-almond taste to the custard. Cherry pits contain benzaldehyde, a chemical also found in almond extract. If you prefer to pit them, add 1/8 teaspoon almond extract to the batter.
The batter can also be used with other fruits, such as blueberries, raspberries or stone fruits. When made with other fruits, it is called flaugnarde.
125g plain flour
300ml whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven:
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F)
Prepare the baking dish:
Generously butter a 24-cm (9-inch) round baking dish.
Prepare the cherries:
Wash and stem the cherries, but do not pit them. Dry them and pour them in a single layer in the baking dish.
Mix the dry ingredients:
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
Mix the wet ingredients:
In a small bowl, beat the eggs, then stir them into the flour.
Pour in the milk and vanilla extract, whisking until it forms a uniform mixture.
Pour over the batter:
Pour the batter evenly over the cherries.
Bake the clafoutis:
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until the custard is just set. It will be puffed and brown.
Clafoutis can be served warm, at room temperature or cold.