HAPPY SUNDAY! I am sitting at my kitchen table next to a bowl of rich tomatoey, cheesey spaghetti (all my Southern hemisphere food blogging peeps are in wintery comfort eating mode and the food envy was all too real). I am also halfway through defrosting my flat mates freezer. I love my wee Edinburgh flat but it is not without its flaws. There is the washing machine that no longer works, the posters that peel off the walls at 2 am, the mysterious creaks, the glasses that routinely and mysteriously are flung off the kitchen table (we have a ghost), the nail sticking out of my floorboards that shreds my heel when I forget about it. And then there are the tiny fridges. We have two tiny fridges in this place, wee little useless bastards. One fridge for two people. I share mine with a French recluse whose diet seems to consist of pasta and mayonnaise so just about everything in there belongs to me (wine, 12 varieties of cheese and an eclectic sampling of condiments). Our two other flatmates share the other one which I am currently cleaning.
The freezer space in these wee fridges is shoe box size, big enough for a tub of ice cream and a bag of peas and the doors do not attach properly. Needless to say your ice cream is always soft and the frost build-up seems to spread like some crystallising fungus. It is a straight up nightmare. Hence I am spending my Sunday cleaning up melted ice cream in between recipe testing cookie batches and long heavy sighs of exasperation while I chisel out blocks of ice.
This Scottish summer has been pretty grey, sticky and humid so far. Summer really isn’t my favourite time of year and the humidity makes me curse out loud. If you follow me on instagram you may notice that I routinely complain when the mercury goes into double digits. I am a child of grey skies, bitter winds and icy rain. Summer leaves me drained and listless (so this flurry of cleaning and baking activity today is quite out of the ordinary).
Not without its perks though, Summer produce is unrivalled in deliciousness. Peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots. The odd mango, the sweetest British berries and tart plump little cherries. Oh the cherries!!
Do you ever feel at a loss at what to make with Summer produce? not for lack of ideas, more because you have far too many recipes to try and you end up paralysed with indecision? This is me frequently in the kitchen. Often what happens is I retreat in to the comfort and safety of old faithful recipes with maybe a tweak or two to see if they can be improved upon. Hence I present to you, Clafoutis. A happy accident that today is also Bastille Day. C’est bon!
More pancake that cake. More flan than tart. A Clafoutis is a dense custardy, cream dessert studded with cherries and spiced with amaretto. I have been making clafoutis for as long as I have been baking - the recipe I learnt from was pulled out of one of my mum’s old Better Homes and Garden’s magazines from the 80s. The hardest part of this recipe is probably the pronunciation of clafoutis - klah/foo/tee. There, hard part is over. Beautifully done. Everything else isa breeze. Pit the cherries, lay them in a dish, whisk together the batter ingredients as if you were making pancakes, pour over cherries, bake. Voila!
The most tedious part of the recipe is pitting the cherries. This is entirely optional of course, some traditionalists will tell you to leave them be but because I am too tight to go to the dentist for a cracked tooth, I choose to pit them.
Use amaretto, but if you don’t have it almond extract will suffice.
This is a wonderfully interchangeable recipe. I have made it with apricots, blackberries, apples and plums in the past. Most fruits will work but dense less juicy/liquidy fruits work best.
I use a whisk, but if you have a blender or an immersion blender feel free to use this.
CHERRY CLAFOUTIS/CLAFOUTIS AUX CERISES
450g/1lb cherries, stemmed and pitted
70g/ ½ cup plain all-purpose flour
100g/ ½ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
½ tsp vanilla powder or 1 tsp vanilla beanextract
1 Tbsp Amaretto (substitue 1/4 tsp almond extract)
330ml/1 1/3 cup whole milk
30g/2 Tbsp butter, melted
Softened butter to grease your baking dish.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF. Grease a shallow baking dish or pie plate liberally with butter.
Stem and pit the cherries. Lay them in a single layer in the baking dish.
Whisk together the flour and sugar. and salt Whisk in the eggs, vanilla and amaretto.
Gradually whisk in the milk and melted butter until thoroughly combined.
Pour the batter over the cherries.
Bake the clafoutis until the custard is just set; a knife poked in the center should emerge relatively clean. It’ll take about 45 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Or cold even.