If you missed it, a new season of The Great British Baking Show started on PBS last Friday. Since Mary Berry, Mel and Sue were no longer on the show I was quite interested/excited/nervous to see what this new version would be like with only Paul Hollywood remaining. But alas, it wasn’t the new version of the show. It is an old season that they never aired in the US. I believe from 2012. Oh well, it’s new to me so I’m still thrilled!
As you know, I love to bake and we always do “Summer Desserts” every year to help me learn new things. Well, with a new season of The Great British Baking Show and with me really wanting to take my baking to the next level it is all baking, all the time over here. I can’t get enough of it. I just need to find ways to offload the finished products. Any takers?
Here is our official Summer Desserts 2018 list.
As you can see, we have already made a couple of things. You may be confused that I said “all baking all the time” yet only two bakes have been completed. Well, I’ve been baking a lot of things that are not on the official list. You have to go where the wind takes you. Lately, the wind has been blowing me towards cherries.
I LOVE cherries! They always seem so special because cherry season is so short. So when I see them in the store I start loading up. They are fabulous just as they are. Cherry jam is my favorite kind of jam. They are delicious paired with stone fruits in a fruit salad, on toast or in a crostata. If you know more ways to use cherries please don’t keep it to yourself. Share with the rest of us!
So, with the abundance of cherries lying around the house and a desire to learn all kinds of new bakes I set off to make my first Cherry Clafouti. Clafouti (pronounced cla – foo- tea) is a French dessert; in very basic terms I would say it is similar to a really set custard or a REALLY eggy, giant crepe. The traditional clafouti is made with cherries but you can make it with a variety of other fruits. Just choose something that will hold its shape pretty well. I would stay away from delicate berries as they may just bleed and turn to mush (probably still taste good though).
As I am not a huge fan of custard I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this bake. Really I was making it to try it to expand my repertoire. Let me tell you, I wish I had a giant piece right now! I’m not going to say it was love at first bite but man did it grow on me. I liked it best all by itself (no ice cream). I liked it best slightly warm. And I also liked it cold, straight out of the fridge (cue French people cringing everywhere). I mean, this was a win for me! My husband isn’t a custard person either and he thought it was “okay.” But, he didn’t ever try it warm; he had it room temperature. I thought is was “okay” room temp but preferred warm or cold. I think for his first clafouti taste ever he would have liked it better warm.
One of the great things about this dish is that it is made in an oven-safe pan. We did have leftovers for a couple of days. I just put the lid on the pan and threw it in the fridge. If I wanted a bite of cold clafouti, I sliced some off and ate it. If I wanted a bite of warm clafouti, I just put in on the stove (with the lid on) over a very low heat until it was the temperature I wanted. I love convenience… and fewer dishes.
I used the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. Usually you have to have a membership to get to their recipes but I follow them on Instagram and they had a link available to all (thank you powers at be). If my understanding is correct, their version is a bit more labor intensive than some others; you have to separately roast the cherries for 15 minutes. But, this helps the cherries not bleed into the custard. Clafouti was originally made with whole cherries, pits and all. I would not enjoy eating a dessert where I have to constantly spit out pits and avoid cracked molars. So, I am happy to pit, halve and roast some cherries on behalf of my taste testers.
Clearly I’m a bit long winded today, sorry. Let’s get to the recipe!
First, I rinsed, pit and halved the cherries. Then, put the cherries cut side up on a foil lined baking sheet. Let them roast for 15 minutes.
When the cherries came out of the oven I lifted the foil and let them slide into a bowl that had 1 tsp of lemon juice in the bottom. I tossed the cherries and lemon juice together then let them cool for 5 minutes.
Then, I sprinkled the cherries with a combination of flour and cinnamon and tossed everything until it was evenly coated.
While the cherries were roasting (and the pan was in the oven getting hot) I made the batter. I started in a bowl as the Cook’s Illustrated recipe suggested but as I was mixing and my arm was getting tired I wondered why. This was a thin batter. Similar to my Aunt Clare’s crepe recipe. She makes hers in the blender so I thought I would do the same. I poured everything into the blender and continued to make the batter.
So much easier. I may have been pushing my luck adding all the cream and milk with the lid all the way off but luckily it worked out ok.
When the batter was mixed and the cherries were ready, I pulled my very hot pan out of the oven. I added the butter to the pan and swirled it around. No picture of that as I didn’t want to burn myself. But the butter gets nice and brown quickly and smells delicious! Then, I poured in the batter.
Now, the recipe says “arrange” in single layer. Well, I have a bit of OCD and was concerned that by the time I finished “arranging in a single layer” the whole thing would be cooked from the heat of the pan. But that didn’t happen, all was ok. A few cherries sank but I was surprised by how many stayed on top. I did arrange it with the cut side up to hopefully avoid as much bleeding as possible.
I put my pan back in the oven, rotated halfway through and pulled it out. Look at that lovely golden brown color and how beautiful and puffy it is!
It does deflate significantly as it cools but that is supposed to happen.
After dinner I took a slice and added a scoop of ice cream. It was very good. But, I like it better by itself, no ice cream. And I could eat it over and over and over again. Apparently I was supposed to sprinkle more sugar on top before I sliced and served it. I forgot. I’m sure that would have been fantastic but since this was my first clafouti I didn’t have anything to compare it to and I didn’t miss the extra sugar so I will just leave it off the next time I make it too.
I heard that sometimes this is served for breakfast. I really don’t think it is a breakfast food. I definitely think it is dessert. But if you want to twist my arm I will consider it for a special occasion. Happy Cherry Season!
1 ½ lb Fresh Sweet Cherries, pitted and halved
1 tsp Lemon Juice
2 tsp + ½ c Flour, divided
1/8 tsp Ground Cinnamon
2/3 c Sugar
2 ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
¼ tsp Salt
1 c Heavy Cream
2/3 c Whole Milk
1 T Unsalted Butter
Adjust oven racks to lowest and upper-middle positions.
Place a 12” skillet on the lower rack and heat oven to 425.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place cherries, cut side up, on the baking sheet.
Roast on upper rack until just tender and cut side looks dry; 15 minutes.
Transfer cherries to a bowl and toss with lemon juice; let cool for 5 minutes.
Combine 2 tsp flour and the cinnamon in a small bowl, mix; sprinkle over cherries evenly and toss to coat thoroughly.
Put eggs, 2/3 c sugar, vanilla and salt in the blender; blend until smooth and pale.
Add remaining ½ cup of flour in two additions and blend until smooth.
Add cream and milk and blend until fully incorporated.
Carefully remove skillet from oven with potholders.
Add butter to the pan and swirl to evenly coat the bottom and sides of pan.
Pour batter in the skillet and arrange cherries evenly on top (some will sink).
Put skillet back in the oven on the lower rack.
Bake until clafouti puffs and turns golden brown (edges will be dark); about 18-22 minutes, rotating skillet halfway through.
Center should reach 195 if you want to check with a thermometer
Transfer skillet to a wire rack and let cool for 25 minutes.
Slice into wedges and serve.