When I visited Paris last November in the dreary, gray cold, the city felt like it was nearing a hibernation for winter as places like Luxembourg Gardens had barely a soul wandering in the swift chilly breeze and the Eiffel Tower’s lines were not as lengthy as I imagined they’d be for a landmark like it.
The origins of Cherry Clafoutis comes from the Limousin region of France and purists of this dish say that it is supposed to be traditionally baked with the cherries whole which allows the pits of the cherries give a depth of flavor to the dish (thanks to the same active compound found in almond extract).
Going for the traditional flair, I have kept them whole for this dish and I’m leaving it up to you on what you decide is best. I’ve eaten it both ways and couldn’t tell much of a difference between pitted clafoutis and unpitted clafoutis…all I know is I love this and it is a mainstay in my home every summer.
Travel can lock a location into a state of what took place while you were on the ground. Paris the city of light was gray most of my visit, but I knew better than to see it in the terms of how I experienced it. Walking beside the seine I imagined the streets full of people out and about experiencing it in all it’s glory during a warm summers day.
Much like it would be right now at this time of year when life brims in every corner and alley throughout France, but at that time when I was in the land of baguettes and pastries life was slower. Where even statues seemed to be sad about the impending cold. Even in that atmosphere I found Paris to be an enchanting city. Maybe because the streets were less populated with tourists so I had peace to explore.
There is so much to see that any old street could give you a statue outside a building or a square filled a fountain. Yes, Paris shows its history on it’s sleeve and it’s every so beautiful. I yearn to return during a warmer time of year to see the city of light in a new way.
They were in what might be called a post summer slump and with good reason, cherry season was months away. I imagine Julia Child eating this dessert for the first time and ever so excited about its simplicity and elegance. The smoothness of this custard like dish and how she must have looked forward to cherry season more once she knew of this recipe.
Note: Images were updated in early 2019 and the recipe amended to reflect the traditional way of making this with whole cherries.
From Julia Child via Bite from the Past
3 cups cherries, whole or pitted and halved
1 1/4 cups milk
2/3 cup superfine/caster sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350F.
Place the milk, 1/3 cup of the sugar, eggs, extract, salt and flour into a blender and whisk for approximately 1 minute until combined and bubbly.
Pour into the baking dish, just enough to cover the base and place in the oven for approximately 5 minutes or until a thin crust has formed.
Remove and add the cherries. Even out and pour over the remaining sugar. Add in the remaining mixture and return to the oven for approximately an hour or until golden on top.
Remove and allow to cool slightly.