Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Fancy-Free French Dessert.

This dessert holds a name that could intimidate a common menu-holder.
Cherry Clafoutis is a classic french dessert that has a silky texture, and features bright bursts of cherry throughout the cake-like confection.
Here's a less-known tidbit about said dessert: It is ridiculously easy to make.
The batter is essentially a crepe/flan batter, the only secret being how you bake it, and your attention to flavors.
Classically made with bing cherries and batter in a buttered dish, they make quite the impressive individual dessert for anyone who is a notoriously hard to please critic.
The bold flavors I used to alter the classic, plain batter pumped up the dessert to my liking, playing off of a cherry pie with the use of almond flavor.
Three things: Lemon zest, Brandy, Almonds

Cherry Clafoutis

You will need:
4 individual ramekins, rather shallow, about 1 1/2 inches deep
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar (vanilla sugar if you have it)
1 scraped vanilla bean
2 tsp brandy
Zest from 1 lemon
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 pound- 1 pound pitted, halved cherries
Toasted sliced almonds (for garnish)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, butter each of the individual dishes.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the eggs and sugar until very smooth and thick, add the seeds from the vanilla bean and mix well.
Stir in the brandy, almond extract, and lemon zest. Slowly add the flour, mix until just incorporated, do not over mix!
Whisk in the milk carefully as to not spill the batter, set aside while you assemble the cherries.
Place the cherries cut side down in the individual dishes in 1 layer, fit until no more can squeeze in.
Pour the batter on top and you should notice that the cherries will float to the top, if they don't at first, help them out by placing a paring knife just under a corner of the cherry to lift the suction.
Place the baking dishes on a tray and bake for about 40 minutes or until they are LIGHTLY browned and spongy to the touch in the middle. You can garnish with the toasted almond slices if you would like, for some texture and taste!

Let these cool slightly before serving, but serving hot would be nice with a scoop of good ice cream.

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