A clafoutis of disappointment

I’m not sure I really get the point of clafoutis. An odd way to introduce a recipe, I know. But after discovering my love for cherries, I thought I’d love a classic cherry pudding like clafoutis. It turns out I’m more than a little ambivalent.

Clafoutis

The problem is not so much with clafoutis itself. It is what it is: a light, wobbly flan encasing delicate summer fruits. Sounds pretty inoffensive, right? But I had placed cherry clafoutis on an exalted shelf in the perfectly photographed cookbook of my mind. Consequently, I was expecting a single mouthful to transport me to a southern French village on a mid-summer’s evening, mid-way through a long holiday involving just the right amount of hours spent reading in the shade, swimming in deep, slow, green rivers and indulging in other forms of French cuisine.

Of course, this is a lot to expect of a forkful of what is essentially a fruity quiche, so my disappointment was inevitable. I can only beg you not to judge this clafoutis as harshly as I did. I will battle on in the hopes of alighting on a better version of this recipe, but I’ll leave you with this one for now:

Makes 8 generous slices or 12 smaller ones

Cooking time: 10 minutes prep, 30 minutes baking

What you need

4 eggs

160g plain flour

160g melted and cooled butter

300ml milk

120g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

500g ripe cherries, stones removed

Preserving sugar to top

 

How to make it

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, then grease and line a 25cm oven-proof dish.
  2. Beat the eggs in a bowl for a couple of minutes, then add the flour.
  3. When the flour is combined, whisk in the cooled, melted butter, followed by the milk, sugar and vanilla essence.
  4. Spread the cherries over the base of the oven-proof dish, then pour the batter over them. Scatter with the preserving sugar, and place in the middle of the oven.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 180°C and cook for a further 20 minutes until set, and golden on top. Check to see whether the batter is cooked by inserting a sharp knife in the centre (if it comes out clean, it’s ready, if not, bake for 5 more minutes until set).
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