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Cherry clafoutis is something that for some reason I’ve always wanted to make. I’ve got an image of it in my mind, with amazing puffy, golden batter rising around plump, juicy cherries. But cherries have always been too precious to do anything with other than just eating them, so I’ve never made it. But, recently I had a call from a neighbor saying that their cherry trees were ready for picking, and it needed doing before the birds got them!

A short while later we’d picked the trees as clean as we could, although it still felt as if every time we turned around there was another bunch of cherries hiding under a leaf. I took a share home and while munching happily, had a look for a clafoutis recipe. My favourite cook book, Mrs Beeton, had one, but it looked a bit fiddly, so I had a look online and found this easier looking Nigel Slater recipe.

I pitted the cherries, as it seemed easier on the eating front! I used a home-made cherry pitter to start with, as suggested by the Zero Waste Chef, but must admit that although it worked, I found it a bit fiddly. And although there’s a learning curve and I was getting quicker, I still had about two kilos of cherries to pit that were destined for the freezer, so I abandoned my vow to stop buying bits of kitchen equipment and purchased a cherry pitter. I can use it for olives too, right?!

This recipe includes the suggestion to substitute a portion of the flour for almond meal (aka ground almonds, almond flour) and I did this, mostly because I had some in the larder from my Christmas cake (AWESOME Nigella recipe!) and this seemed to be a great opportunity to use some more of it up. This substitution meant the batter didn’t rise as much as I think it would have done with 100% flour, but it rose enough, and lent a delicious texture and flavor. I was worried that the whole thing would be absolutely welded to the pan when it came out of the oven, but it didn’t stick at all!

I’ve heard that clafoutis can be tricky, but give this a go, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

[recipe title=”Cherry Clafoutis” servings=”6″ time=”60 minutes” difficulty=”Moderate” image=”http://freshfieldgrove.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/cherry-crop.jpg” description=”Fabulous seasonal dessert enclosing fresh juicy cherries in a delicious golden batter.”][recipe-ingredients] – A 20cm shallow, round baking dish (see tips)
– 80g sugar
– 350 – 400g cherries
– 2 large free range eggs
– 60g plain flour
– 30g almond meal
– 150ml milk (I prefer whole milk)
– 2 drops vanilla essence / extract
– 30g butter, melted (grass-fed if available)
– extra butter and sugar to prepare the baking dish
– icing sugar for dusting
– cream to serve (optional)
1. Stone the cherries.
2. Set the oven at 180degC (gas mark 4).
3. Prepare your dish by buttering and then dusting with 2tbsp sugar.
4. Tip the cherries into the prepared dish, and shake so they settle in a single layer.
5. Melt the butter in the microwave (I go for 30 second intervals at medium power), or on the stove in a small pan.
6. Take a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and beat in the eggs with a large balloon whisk.
7. Sift in the flour and almond meal, then add the milk and vanilla essence and beat again.
8. Add the melted butter to the batter mixture and stir in.
9. Pour the batter over the cherries.
10. Bake for 35 minutes until puffed and golden.
11. Allow to cool slightly, then dust with icing sugar before serving. Delicious warm or cold.

Possible substitutions and additions:
– Use 90g flour if you don’t have or don’t want to use almond meal.
– Try other fruits, such as apricots, blueberries, blackberries, or cooked pears. You’ll need slightly less by weight, approximately 275g (as there’s no pits).
– Soak the fruit in kirsch for a bit before using, for a boozy version.

Other tips:
– I don’t have a baking dish of a suitable size, so I used my cast iron frying pan, which worked brilliantly.
– Do sift the flour – I don’t bother for most things, but it does make a difference with batters.
– Don’t be tempted to omit the icing sugar dusting – you only need a little, and it makes a BIG difference to the overall flavour.