“Clafouti is right up there with frangipane among fun-to-say dessert words,” says chef Michel Richard in “Sweet Magic” (HarperCollins, $27.50). “It seems like a name for a circus performer — Cherry Clafouti and his Amazing Acrobats.”
This summertime favorite is traditionally made with the stones left inside the cherries, he says. “Just like cooking meat on the bone, cooking cherries with their pits lends a magical flavor and texture boost, even if it is a bit more work on your plate.” Yet most Americans don’t like seeds, so the recipe has been modified.
“If you cannot find good cherries, try using whatever other fruits are in season and perfectly ripe: plums, peaches, apricots, blueberries or blackberries, Richard says.
And don’t stress about the recipe. “No matter what you do, it is hard to mess up,” he says. “I have made this batter with half apple juice and half nonfat milk. I have added vanilla, cinnamon, chopped almonds, so please experiment.”
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 cups milk
4 cups cherries, destemmed, washed and dried
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Start the batter by placing the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Stir them with a whisk to incorporate the ingredients and break up any lumps that might be in the flour. Pour the milk into the dry ingredients at once with one hand while whisking quickly with the other hand to avoid lumps. If a few remain, strain the batter. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and then beat them into the batter until smooth. Let the batter rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Near the end of the chilling time, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and position a rack in the middle.
Place the cherries in the bottom of a 10-inch round glass or ceramic pie plate. Choose a dish that looks nice, as this will be the serving dish. Pour the batter over the cherries and bake for 1 hour, until the edges are set but the center is still slightly jiggly.
Spoon the clafouti into dishes while still warm and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
From “Sweet Magic” by Michel Richard