by Jessica Roy
Cherry clafoutis, for those of you who’ve never had the joy of eating some, is a French, not too sweet, puddingish dessert that is summer’s answer to winter’s fruit cobblers. Usually I follow a super easy recipe that calls for sour cream and ricotta resulting in something that is more like a cheesecake. While this is quite yummy it is not very traditional.
This time around, I used a more standard recipe from The Essential Mediterranean Cookbook, which is one of my favorite cookbooks. It has never let me down and the photos are designed to drive your appetite absolutely wild. On this occasion, however, it evilly had me pitting 1 lb of fresh cherries by hand. It turns out that there is really no need for this. In fact, it’s better if you don’t. I’m pleased to report what various internet sources confirm; that the fine folk of Limousin (who happily invented this dessert) bake their cherries pits-in. They claim that this laissez-faire method actually adds a subtle almond like flavour. This appeals to me on so many levels. First, it’s authentic. Secondly, it’s simple. Pitting cherries is a stain making, painstaking task I’d rather avoid. You can buy a weird little cherry pitting device but honestly, who needs another piece of equipment cluttering up their kitchen drawers waiting for the one day a year you might actually use it to pit some cherries? Not me. When it comes to clafoutis, I’m pits-in all the way.
Pits weren’t my only problem though. As this was a late night emergency dessert situation, I found myself low on staples and having to make a few questionable substitutions, such as whole wheat for regular flour* and soy milk for cow’s. Plus, there was no thick cream and no suitable thick cream substitute on hand. I know, not very French. It wasn’t a total clafoutis fail though. In fact, it was really so very good. It was a little denser and heavier than usual (think bread pudding) but, still good. Also, the bing cherries were dark, plump and sweet, which helped. As for the much- anticipated almond flavour, well, it was incredibly subtle but totally worth spitting pits for.
Also, if you’re like me, you’ll be singing this song the whole time you’re making cherry clafoutis. Fair warning.
*Epicurious suggests you blend almonds into your flour! Just thought everyone should know about that.
Check out Jessica’s bio on the Contributors page.