The French most likely have an addendum for our popular idiom:
Life is just a bowl of cherries...
...so make clafoutis!
Little more than heavenly-scented fruit topped with a custardy batter, this peasant-based dessert reaps high rewards for low effort.
In fact, the only real drudgery is pitting the pound of cherries.
Of course, the blasé French skip this step, swearing by the almond flavor the pits impart and leaving it up to partakers to do their own dirty work.
For our fast-chomping, lawsuit-happy nation, sans pits plus a dash of almond extract is the way to go.
Browned butter cherry clafoutis
Adapted from Chez Panisse Fruit
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 pound sweet cherries, pitted
- 1/4 cup turbinado sugar (1/3 cup if you are using sour cherries)
- 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
- zest of a small lemon
- 1/8 tsp. plus a pinch of salt, divided
- 2 eggs, separated
- 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp. flour (I use almond flour)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Melt the butter in a large sauté pan set over medium-low heat until browned but far from smoking. Add the cherries (carefully), turbinado sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest, and that pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the cherries are tender and fragrant.
With a slotted spoon, scoop the cherries out of their juices and dot them across the bottom of a 9-in pie plate. Keep the juices in the pan, on a low simmer, reducing to a syrup for serving.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the granulated sugar until pale yellow. Beat in the flour, the extracts, and the cream.
In a second bowl, beat the egg whites with the 1/8 tsp. of salt until they form soft peaks. Resist the urge to play with them.
Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until just blended and then pour the mixture over the cherries, allowing some to peek through.
Bake the clafoutis in the top third of oven for about 20 minutes, or once it is proudly puffed and lightly gilded.
Allow it to cool long enough that your lavish dusting of powdered sugar shows up instead of dissolving away and then serve scoopfuls with a drizzle of cream or--go on then--some vanilla ice cream.
The reduced cherry juices go on top.
Leftover clafoutis will weep and disappoint you in the morning, so take this as permission to eat it all, still warm from the oven.
If you do find yourself with a wanton wedge come sun-up, warming it gently and topping it with whole milk yogurt ought to sober it up a bit.