Cherry season has arrived in the northern hemisphere and fortunately some of those gorgeous cherries have even made their way to our supermarkets here in Chiang Mai. Cherry trees require exposure to cold weather to germinate so commercial cherry growing is not possible here in the tropics. There are mountain cherries, a small Himalayan variety, that do grow wild in the mountains in the very north of Thailand and occasionally appear in local markets during the cold season. However they small and sour and nothing like the cherries from further north. So I decided an indulgence was duly justified and came home with a kilo of plump dark red Bing cherries. Delicious just as they are, but I also really had a hankering to make an old favorite French clafouti. A classic clafouti is traditionally always made with cherries when they are in season. However the recipe works beautifully with other seasonal fruits and berries as well. Clafouti is remarkably simple to make and very much in keeping with the idea of easy no fuss good wholesome food. The plump cherries are the star here and sure to please!
Fresh Cherry Clafouti serves 6 to 8
This recipe follows Julia Child’s no-nonsense classic Clafouti recipe with a few minor adaptations. I like really loading up the baking dish with cherries and adding a dash of almond extract to the batter that nicely compliments the flavor of the cherries. In fact the French do not pit the cherries, believing the pits add a slight almond flavor to the baked clafouti. I am not convinced and, with practicality in mind, much prefer the cherries pitted.
- 4 cups fresh dark red pitted cherries/ about 24 ounces
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk
- 2/3 cup sugar, divided
3 large organic eggs
- 2 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- pinch of sea salt
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350f/180c
Lightly butter a baking dish that is about 1 ½ inches deep and set aside.
Pit most of the cherries and set aside, reserving some whole cherries on the stem for garnishing.
Note: Cherry/ olive pitters are available in cooking shops and online and well worth the small investment. If you don’t have one I have read using a sturdy plastic straw works, although I’ve not tried it.
Using a blender, combine the milk, 1/3 cup of sugar, the eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, salt, and flour and blend on medium speed until very smooth, about 1 minute.
Pour about a ¼ inch layer of batter into the buttered baking dish and set the remaining batter aside. Place the baking dish into the preheated oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until the layer of batter is just set. Remove from the oven and place on a work surface.
Arrange the pitted cherries on their sides onto the layer of set batter, following the shape of the baking dish, working from the edge to the center until the cherries fill the baking dish.
Evenly sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar over the cherries. Then pour the remaining batter over the cherries until they are nearly covered, but leaving the tops exposed. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for 45 to 60 minutes. Keep an eye on the clafouti as you want it to be lightly browned and puffed up slightly, but not over baked. The clafouti is done when a thin skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack until the clafouti reaches room temperature.
Ideally clafouti should be just slightly warm from the oven. Dust with powdered sugar, slice, and serve along with a few whole reserved cherries.
You might also like Clafouti withFresh Figs ,Blueberries, and chevre ( see recipe here)
Voila…. Bon Appetite.!