Cherry Clafoutis, a quintessential Provencal dessert
In late May and early June, the Provence countryside is dotted with cherry trees ripe with the bright red fruit. On the way to Lourmarin, Bonnieux or Lacoste you'll find small farmers selling just-picked cherries by the side of the road. They are often sold out in a few short hours. Crates piled high with cherries may also be seen at all the local markets.
An easy way to use the luscious fruit is in a clafoutis - a light dessert prepared with only 5 ingredients. Since there are so few ingredients, you'll want to use the ripest and sweetest cherries you can find.
In Provence, the cherries are mixed into the batter with their pits as locals believe this enhances the flavor of the clafoutis. I prefer not to have my guests break a tooth and therefore I pit the cherries before using them.
Cherries have a short season so feel free to use any other stone fruit instead. I have had great success making a clafoutis with peaches, plums, apricots, and in winter, with apples or pears.
2 1/2 cups cherries, pits removed
2 large eggs, at room temperature
6 TBS flour
3 TBS white sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
Slides almonds (optional)
Preheat oven to 400F (200 C). Butter bottom and sides of an 8" or 9" round, spring-form cake pan. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with a light coating of turbinado (sugar in the raw) or use white or brown sugar. Scatter the pitted cherries to cover the bottom of the pan. Whisk together the eggs, flour, sugar and cream until smooth. The batter will be loose, not unlike pancake batter.
Spread the batter over the cherries to cover and bake in preheated oven for 40 - 45 minutes, until puffed and golden. Allow clafoutis to cool, sprinkle with optional powdered sugar and sliced almonds. Serve at room temperature.
Refrigerate any leftovers with plastic wrap. Leftovers make an excellent breakfast treat!