Our very warm spring means that this is a G-R-E-A-T year for cherries and we have been picking and cooking and baking!
Le clafoutis (pronounced klafooty) is one of France’s most traditional and timeless family desserts. I had always liked clafoutis, but when I found this recipe by Alain Ducasse I immediately became a fan! Instead of the traditional and rather heavy batter mix, he mixes an almond cream with a crème patissière – and how could that be a bad idea?!
So if you want to add a particularly French touch to your next family lunch or dinner, here’s one way to go.
Pick a basket of cherries, preferably a variety that is slightly acid in taste. If you wish you can wash them, but make sure they are dried well after. If you are feeling like a saint you can pit them, I personally feel that life is too short for that, so I use the cherries whole and warn my guests when serving, assuring them at the same time that the cherry stones add a particularly wonderful flavour to the dessert …..
Cover the base of your favourite oven proof tart mould with the cherries.
Make the crème patissière by whisking together 100 grams (less than 1 cup) of sugar, a teaspoon full of cornflour and 3/4 egg yolks. Heat 25cl milk and , once it has boiled, pour the milk over the sugar and egg yolk mix. Beat well then return to the pan, stirring over a gently heat until the crème begins to thicken.
Separately mix together in a mixer 100 g 3/4 cup of ground almonds, 100 g butter 1/2 cup and 100 of sugar, plus a teaspoon of cornflour and an egg. (sorry I forgot to take pictures of these steps – there was a lot going on at the time!)
When everything is well mixed then pour the crème patissière over the almond cream and blend together thoroughly. Pour over the cherries and pop into the oven AT 180°.
About 30 minutes later you can remove the clafoutis from the oven and it will look a lot like this. It’s not the easiest dessert to serve in clean slices but I promise that improves as it cools.