Monday, May 22, 2017

Cherry Clafoutis

A clafoutis (pronounced "kla-foo-tee") is a rustic dessert from the south of France.  It's basically cherries in a thick crepe batter.  It's very easy to make.  Traditionally, the cherries aren't pitted as the pit releases an almond-like flavor when baked. Mine are pitted and I added a little dash of almond extract to compensate. 

The cherry season comes and goes real quick in central California. This is an easy and delicious treat to make when the cherries are available, though frozen cherries can also be used. It is best served warm and is especially good with a scoop of ice cream.

Cherry Clafoutis

4 eggs, separated
2/3 cup sugar, divided
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds fresh cherries, pitted
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 11-inch ovenproof fry pan or large baking dish.

In a bowl, stir together the cherries, 1/3 cup sugar and the lemon zest; set aside. 

In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and the remaining 1/3 cup of the sugar. Using a handheld mixer, beat on medium-high speed until ribbons form, about 8 minutes (the mixture will turn to a cream color). Add the flour, vanilla and almond extracts, and cream.  Reduce the speed to low and beat until completely blended, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

In a small bowl, using a hand-held whisk, beat the egg whites and salt for about 30 seconds. Add the whites to the batter and beat with the mixer on low speed until incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes.

Preheat the prepared fry pan in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven, pour in the cherries and top with the batter.  Bake until the clafoutis is set in the middle, 30 to 35 minutes.  Serve warm with ice cream, if desired.

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