Friday, August 24, 2012
Fall is just around the corner, and I am SO ready. Really, really, really ready, actually. I just got a sudden urge to make apple crisp and pumpkin muffins with cream cheese centers, lots of bowls of oatmeal, and all things spiced. I'm ready for crisp and chilly fall breezes, colorful leaves on the trees (and the ground), and I'm ready to pull out my sweaters and boots. It's time for fall! I don't know what made me start craving fall so badly all of the sudden; last week I was getting sad that summer was almost over! I think it was that Macy's catalog that was delivered to my house today...just seeing all those fall inspired clothes and layers made me totally change my mind and start waiting for fall to arrive. It can't come soon enough!
As much as I want fall to come, I'm definitely still a little sad that summer is essentially over. I move back to school in a week (!!!), and many of my friends have already moved back to school, and are actually starting classes on Monday! I definitely need to make the most of the week of summer vacation that I have left, and do as many summer things as I can manage while still devoting a little time to packing...sigh. I hate packing! Actually that's not true. I actually really like packing once I get started, I just hate the process of bringing myself from a non-packing state into a packing one...it's kind of like working out. I hate the process of bringing myself to exercise, but once I get started, I absolutely love it. But ANYWAY. Back to what I was saying before. Summer is almost over, and it's a little sad! I had to make a dessert that highlighted one of my favorite summer fruits, and I figured that a cherry clafoutis was the way to go!
Cherry clafoutis is a very traditional, rustic French dessert. Cherry clafoutis are traditionally made with sweet, unpitted cherries, as leaving the pits in the cherries will produce a mild almond flavor that gets infused throughout the dish. You could think of a clafoutis as being similar to a popover, or a baked pancake; a baking dish is covered with fruit on the bottom, then has a pancake-like batter poured over the top, and gets baked until the batter becomes puffed and fluffy. My sister travelled to France last summer, and when she came home, she recreated a version of a cherry clafoutis, but used peaches instead of cherries. This was my first exposure to a clafoutis, and I was very intrigued. I'm normally not a fan of custard desserts (clafoutis and my mom's flan are the only custard desserts I really like), but I thought this was delicious!
This clafoutis is one of the easiest desserts I've ever made. It is incredibly quick to put together, taking maybe all of about a staggering ten minutes, and since you just have to throw all the ingredients together into a blender and give it a good whirl, you're also left with minimal dishes to wash when you're finished (and we all know that this is the true indicator of how good a recipe is). But in all seriousness, this clafoutis really does take only about ten minutes to prepare, only twenty minutes to bake, and is easy enough that anyone can prepare it. It's the perfect dessert to serve for company, because as soon as you say that it's called a "clafoutis" and that it's a typical French dessert, you'll look like a culinary rock star, and only you will know the reality of just how easy this dessert was to put together. You can leave the pits in the cherries if you wish, and that will cut down on the amount of time needed for this recipe even further, but I chose to remove the pits, just to make the clafoutis a bit easier to eat. This dish is perfect as a dessert, but I think it would be a fantastic addition to any breakfast or brunch menu as well. Enjoy!
recipe from Joy of Baking
For the Clafoutis Batter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cherries
3/4 pound stemmed and pitted sweet cherries
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and position a rack in the center of the oven. Lightly spray 6 ramekins with nonstick baking spray.
Begin by preparing the clafoutis batter. In a blender, combine the flour, salt, eggs, sugar, milk, butter, and vanilla extract. Blend all the ingredients together for about 60 seconds, scraping down the sides of the blender if necessary. Blend the ingredients until completely smooth, and then set aside to rest while you prepare the fruit.
In a skillet set over medium heat, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter. Add the cherries to the butter, and cook the cherries until they have softened slightly, about two minutes. Sprinkle the cherries with the sugar, and cook until the sugar has dissolved and begins to form a light syrup, about another 2 minutes. Remove the cherries from the heat, and evenly distribute them among the 6 prepared ramekins. Evenly divide the clafoutis batter among the ramekins, pouring it over the cherries.
Place all 6 ramekins on a sheet pan, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until each clafoutis is puffed and golden brown. Do not open the oven door before the baking time is complete, or the clafoutis may collapse! Remove the clafoutis from the oven, and allow to cool slightly. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar, and serve warm (the clafoutis is also quite tasty at room temperature!). Enjoy!
Makes 6 mini clafoutis, or 1 9-inch clafoutis