Cherry Clafouti with Almonds

18 08 2009

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Clafouti (sometimes spelled ‘clafoutis’) is a classic French dessert that is usually made with eggs, flour, sugar, cream and fruit.  Is easy to put together and is a great way to use seasonal fruit.  When baked, it is like a custardy pancake. Cherries are a very traditional addition but I’ve had them with other fruit as well, including a delicious pear version.  

Many clafouti recipes call for leaving the pits in the cherries as it’s believed they add more flavour (and it’s easier for the cook). However, I recommend pitting the cherries before adding them to the batter – it’s neater to eat and you don’t have to worry about someone breaking a tooth.  To efficiently pit cherries, I finally broke down and bought a cherry pitter:

A cherry pitter

A cherry pitter

I was hesitant to get one because it’s not something I use every day and the last thing I need is more clutter in my kitchen drawers. However, it makes pitting cherries so fast and easy, it was well worth the $20 or so it cost.  You can find similar cherry pitters at most kitchen stores.  They’re also great for pitting olives.  If you don’t have a pitter, you can cut the cherries in half and pry out the pits with the tip of a knife. It’s a bit messier but it will get the job done.

This recipe makes a relatively small amount of dessert (for about 4 people) so it can be doubled if serving a larger group.

Cherry Clafouti with Almonds

Makes 4 servings

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup milk (or use 1 cup of half-and-half in place of the cream + milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8 oz. pitted sweet cherries (equals about 1-1/2 cups of cherries)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Icing sugar for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahreneheit.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, add cream, milk, vanilla extract and almond extract.  Stir to combine and bring to a gentle simmer, making sure not to boil the mixture.  Remove from heat.
  3. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, add eggs, flour, sugar and salt.  Use a fork to vigorously mix everything together until it makes a smooth paste.  Add egg mixture to the warm milk.  Stir to combine well.
  4. Grease a small baking dish (with a 3 to 4 cup capacity) and pour in the batter.  Drop in the cherries and top with almond slices.
  5. Bake clafouti for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top has puffed and started to brown.  Spoon out servings and top with a sprinkling of icing sugar.  Accompany with a bit of lightly sweetened cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

 

Cherry Clafouti with Almonds

Cherry Clafouti with Almonds





Cherry Almond Bread

25 07 2008

cherries

Last summer my husband Allan and I stayed at a beautifully restored villa near Cortona, Italy in the Tuscan countryside.  It was called Villa di Piazzano and the buildings and surrounding views were exactly how I envisioned Tuscany after reading Frances Mayes’s memoir ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’.   We stayed in the Luna Piena room (‘Full Moon’) and one night we slept with the window open so we could feel the cool evening breeze and enjoy the silence of the countryside (we live in the city so it was a welcome break!).  In the morning, the smell of baking from the kitchen below us woke me up.  When we went down to breakfast, there was a table full of local sheep’s cheeses, Tuscan fennel salami, juices and fantastic baked goods such as sweet breads and pastries.  I developed this Cherry Almond Bread so we could enjoy a similar type of breakfast on occasion.    The recipe calls for sweet cherries instead of sour ones – the sweet ones are usually a very dark reddish-burgundy.

The view from the Luna Piena room at Villa di Piazzano, Cortona, Italy

 

Cherry Almond Bread

(VEGETARIAN)

A note about pitting cherries: There are various methods you can use to pit cherries including buying a cherry/olive pitter.  Some people swear by using a chopstick to poke the pit through the cherry while others use the tip of a knife to dislodge it.  Because this recipe does not call for a lot of cherries, I simply cut around the middle of the cherry from top to bottom (cutting through the diametre until you hit the pit) and gently pull apart the two halves, using the tip of the knife to remove the pit.   This will minimize the mess and give you two nice halves.

  • 1-1/2 cups + 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup neutral oil (such as safflower or canola)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 full cup (rounded) pitted, halved sweet cherries (see note at top for pitting advice)

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.  Grease a standard size loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cherry halves and 2 Tablespoons of flour.  Toss to coat the cherries and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, the salt, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.  Stir to combine.
  4. Add the eggs, oil, sour cream, vanilla and almond extracts to dry ingredients.  Stir until just combined (the mixture will be quite thick). 
  5. Gently fold cherries into batter, stirring carefully to mix.  Spoon into greased loaf pan.  Top with slivered almonds and sugar.
  6. Bake for approximately 35 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let cool, remove from pan and cut into slices.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

cherry-almond-bread