For years, I was told we could not grow cherries in our mountain orchard; something about the altitude, or the birds or something else was a definite hurdle; well, just a few days ago, Salah, our beloved orchard manager, said he had something to show me and produced a huge crate of dark, plump cherries. Gasp!
Salah went on about all the years he tried growing his cherry trees, this and that, grafting, roots, (it is all a jumble in my head), and finally, voilà! Fantastic crop this year and these cherries are (almost) as good as the ones in Hamana, Lebanon (the cherry capital of the country).
A crop of cherries means having to get busy with kitchen projects (besides gulping pounds of them in one sitting!).
Just don’t throw away the stems! (more on that later). Set the stems aside in a large pan and dry them; when dried, store them.
This clafoutis is a classic of French homestyle baking; it is also popular here; a pastry shop opened down the street with the name “Clafoutis”. A clafoutis is like a sweet omelette studded with fruits; the cherries when baked get mellow and soft and retain a bit of tang that is irresistible.
INGREDIENTS: 6 servings
- 3 eggs, 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup of milk
- 1/4 cup of cream
- 2/3 cup of sugar
- 3 cups of cherries, washed and dried
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 1/4 cup of almond flour (optional)
- dash of salt
- 2 tsp of vanilla (or Amaretto)
- Wash the cherries and dry them. Pluck out their stems and place in a bowl to dry later. The stems are very beneficial as a tea for digestive problems.
- Place the eggs, yolk (if using), flour, milk, cream, almond flour, sugar, vanilla and salt in a blender or mixer or food processor and mix for two or three minutes till the mixture is smooth.
- Butter 6 small quiche pans or one large pyrex pan (9X13) and place the cherries all over. Pour the batter over the cherries. Bake in a 350F oven till puffy and set, about 30 minutes. Check with a toothpick, if it comes out clean, the clafoutis is ready.
- Serve while still warm preferably.
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