Here is a recipe from Big Sur native Romney Steele, who published a new cookbook, “Plum Gorgeous: Recipes and Memories from the Orchard,” on July 19, 2011. Read more about the book and Bay Area readings here.
Note from author Romney Steele:
Sweet black cherries baked in custard is a specialty of the Limousin region of France; it’s a popular no-fuss dessert served warm or cold, dusted with a little sugar. Traditionally the cherries are left whole, so that the pits imbue a little of their almond flavor. This is how I’ve always done it too, though you can surely pit them (and my daughter thinks I should); in fact most people do. Try making the clafoutis with other stone fruit like plums and peaches or, in the fall, fresh figs or dried prunes soaked first in brandy for a twist.
Serves 6 to 8
4 cups sweet cherries
1⁄2 cup turbinado or Demerara sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons kirsch
1 cup whole milk
2⁄3 cup crème fraîche
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons flour
1⁄3 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Confectioners’ sugar (optional)
Wash and stem the cherries and pit if you prefer; pat dry. In a bowl, toss the cherries with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the kirsch, more or less as you like to taste. Set aside at room temperature for at least 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Generously butter a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or earthenware dish. Scatter the cherries
in the bottom of the dish.
Combine the remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, the eggs, milk, crème fraîche, vanilla, flour, and salt in a blender. Blend to combine thoroughly; strain if necessary to remove any lumps of flour, then whisk back in by hand.
Pour the custard over the cherries. Bake the clafoutis for 35 to 40 minutes, until puffy and golden and just set in the middle. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you like, before serving.
—From Plum Gorgeous: Recipes and Memories from the Orchard by Romney Steele/Andrews McMeel Publishing (2011)
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