Cherries make a cheery clafouti
With cherries, peaches and berries coming into season right now, most of us will have more than we can eat. It's a shame to waste perfectly good fruit, so it's either freeze it to enjoy later on or look for new ways to use it up.
Clafouti is a simple baked treat that can be made with just about any type of fruit. Clafouti, French for “flan,” isn't really a flan, but it resembles one. It’s served warm and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
When making clafouti, it’s important to use a blender to mix the batter ingredients, otherwise the flour won't be fully worked in and the final product will be too puffy and look more like a Dutch pancake than a flan.
Clafouti should be eaten right after it's baked. Clafouti, like most egg and milk-based dishes, does not reheat well and the quality deteriorates quickly once refrigerated.
Cherries are the traditional fruit used in clafouti, but other fruits — from apples to peaches — are also acceptable.
The following recipe is from Julia Child's classic “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Child suggests letting the fruit steep in 1/4 cup of liquor like kirsch, cognac, dark rum or sweet white wine, before it’s added to the batter. If you choose to do this, drain the liquid from the fruit and substitute it for part of the milk specified in the recipe.
From Julia Child's “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”
3 cups fruit (pitted cherries, blackberries, blueberries, sliced strawberries, peeled and sliced apples or pears, or peeled, pitted and sliced peaches)
1-1/4 cups milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If desired, steep the fruit in 1/4 cup kirsch, cognac or sweet white wine for an hour in a large bowl. Drain the liquid off and pour into a glass measuring cup; add enough milk to equal 1-1/4 cups. Set fruit aside. Add the milk, 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, salt and flour to a blender and blend at high speed for one minute.
Butter a deep dish 9-inch pie plate and pour in a thin layer, about 1/4 inch, of batter. Set the pie plate over medium-high heat and cook just until the batter sets; remove from heat.
Arrange fruit over top and sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup sugar (this sugar may be reduced or eliminated, depending on the sweetness of the fruit); pour remaining batter over all. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, or until lightly browned and a toothpick insterted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Lainie Steelman can be reached at news2@McDonoughVoice.com.