Cherry Clafouti

Cherry Clafouti, I know you’re in there! Come out, with your hands up!

I saw a picture of a cherry clafouti when I was poking about on eGullet in the past week or so. It was handsome. So when I saw there were cherries at the supermarket this evening, I decided that I was going to make cherry clafouti!

There’s always a catch to any good story.

It turns out that I don’t have an appropriate dish for making clafouti. My first choice of dish, a springform pan, was a predictable mistake. Faced with a leaky springform pan full (but emptying) of batter, I had to find a second choice, and fast!

It turns out that I don’t have that much in the way of “things for baking food in”. However, among the things I do have for baking food in, were muffin tins. And by some bizarre fluke of the universe, a muffin tray was precisely the right amount of space for the reduced quantity of batter that I made! But I’m getting a little ahead of myself here.

At the supermarket, when I decided that cherry clafouti would be mine (oh yes, it would be mine); I wasn’t too sure what was actually involved – I knew there was some kind of doughy mixture with cherries poking out. I figured that to make the doughy mixture, I’d find the ingredients in my pantry. This was almost correct; but I wasn’t missing anything that I couldn’t substitute. I’m digressing again, aren’t I. Lets jump forward in time to when I started looking at recipes.

When it comes down to it, clafouti is batter over fruit (cherries, in this case). It shouldn’t be that hard to make. That doesn’t stop some people from having convoluted recipes with eggs and yolks, or ground almonds or all sorts of other little complications. I ended up going with the simplest batter recipe that I came across, with an important variation: There’s only one of me, and while I regard dessert as being the most important meal of the day, I can only eat so much dessert. Instead of making the dessert as in the recipe, I ended up making roughly a third of the recipe (One egg worth, non-divisible things that they are. (That’s not strictly true – it’s just a pain to split an egg)). On with the procedure!

Start off with roughly two heaped tablespoons of flour, with just a pinch of salt. Then, make a well in the middle, and add the egg. Whisk the egg into the flour until it’s a smooth paste. Next, take about one cup of milk; and whisk it into the paste. Once the milk has been incorporated, add a splash of kirsch (or in my kitchen, I decided the best substitute for kirsch was probably going to be cognac), and about a tablespoon of caster sugar (the fine stuff; but not too fine!).

Take a muffin tray with cups that hold about one cup. Place two to three cherries in the bottom of six cups (I’d read that leaving the stones in was better for dessert, but less good for guests; so left the stones in. Next time, I think I might pit them, though – having the cherry juice run through the batter seems like a good thing); then pour in enough of the batter to reach about 2/3 the way up the cherries.

Cook the baby clafouti for about 35 minutes in a 190C oven – until the tops have puffed and turned brown.

[Once the clafouti are cooked, doom awaits you! they're a pain to extract from the muffin pan without making a mess. I have a feeling that lining each of the cups with aluminium foil (with handy tabs for lifting out of the muffin tray) will make this easier. Something to consider next time, anyway. You did read to the end of the recipe before beginning, right?]

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