A cherry clafoutis is a rustic looking French country dessert from the Limousin region that is traditionally made with the first sweet cherries of the season [the cherries were left unpitted so their kernels could release their delicate almond flavor as they baked]. It is a pudding of sorts, with the sweet cherries covered by a thin pancake-like batter and baked in a hot oven until the batter has set with nicely browned and slightly puffed edges.
During the summertime, one of my favorite things to do on a Saturday morning is to stop by the local farmer's market in the Park Blocks. It's quite relaxing walking down the long rows of stands filled with fresh and local produce, not to mention all the pastries and food that some local businesses bring.
As I walked down the rows, I found over a handful of places selling cherries - Bings and Rainiers. Without hesitation, I knew it was *the* day I was going to bake my own cherry clafoutis tart. I picked a little over a pound of cherries - the firmest, darkest, sweetest ones I could find. Then of course I grabbed a few of the beautiful yellowish-red Rainiers for myself to snack on.
During the late afternoon, I began pitting the cherries [after all, who wants to keep spitting out the pits when eating dessert?], and I made my own special Pâte Brisée tart shell, a wonderfully flaky crust that is a trademark of mine. In the end, the cherry clafoutis tart came out a huge success [my supportive hubby thinks it's even better than the one we had at the restaurant :)]. It takes maybe an hour from start to finish, with the bulk of the time spent pitting the cherries.
Dark Cherry Clafoutis Tart
Created in My Kitchen
Yield: 6 servings
1 Tbsp butter
1 lb. fresh cherries, pitted
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
4 eggs, separated
4 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
Your favorite tart/pie shell
1. Bake tart shell and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and 2 Tbsp of sugar at medium-high speed until ribbons form (about 5 minutes).
3. Add in flour, vanilla extract, heavy cream and milk. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites and salt. Then pour egg white mixture into batter and beat on low speed until everything is mixed thoroughly. Set aside.
4. In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Pour in the pitted cherries and toss until cherries are coated and start to soften, about 3 minutes.
5. Sprinkle remaining 2 Tbsp sugar over them and add lemon zest. Toss to combine and gently stir until sugar is melted. Reduce heat if necessary [you don't want to cook the cherries, but rather melt the sugar].
6. Pour cherry mixture into tart shell, spread them out if necessary. Then pour the batter over the cherries.
7. Bake at 375ºF for about 30 minutes, or until center is set. The clafoutis should be golden and puffed.
8. Let it cool for about 30 minutes before enjoying. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with ice cream if desired.
Notes: I think the clafoutis is best enjoyed the same day you make it as the crust begins to get a bit "soggy" a day later. Be sure to wear an apron or something that isn't white when pitting cherries.