Cherry clafoutis happens when you want to dirty your hands pitting cherries. Otherwise you just pop them in your mouth and spit the stones on a newspaper kept in the tray. I read somewhere that old fashioned cherry clafoutis was made using whole cherries with the stone, I was tempted to bake them whole this time, but I love my teeth more than I am lazy. Having said that, I read that purists believe the stone (the pits) release a wonderful rich flavor to the baked dessert. I have to try that sometime when I bake individual servings.
Cherry clafoutis (pronounced klafooti) is basically a baked pancake like custard that puffs up beautifully and collapses a little when taken out of the oven and is served warm. Although we like it at room temperature too, some people like it chilled as well. Since all warm custards are easy to make and serve to large gatherings, I used to bake clafoutis with black grapes, sliced pear or even halved plum, it was done mostly in microwave and served warm. The reason for fruit clafoutis was, with many dishes that were made for guests, I had no space for a chilled dessert in the refrigerator. Warm custards were easy and everyone liked them. Even Mithi used to like but her portion used to be more of egg custard with pureed fruit.
We have been eating cherries by the buckets literally. Phalsa is my most favorite berry of the season but I can't stop myself from buying a box of cherries if the cherries are fresh and dark ones. Juicy and plump, most suitable to just keep snacking on them all the time. Well, I don't keep eating them all the time because I simply forget I have them because these need to be refrigerated else most of them will start rotting within a couple of days. It's only when we sit together we gobble them up one by one like used to do with peanuts in winters. Mango has been being sidelined royally as we can't eat too many fruits, only the two of us. Cherries this season have been the best I have seen till now, and the cheapest too. Or may be I have started going out more and seeing more, earlier it was only a weekly affair to go look for vegetables and fruits.
I baked a flour less cherry clafoutis this time, the way I used to make Mithi's egg custards. There was a time she used to like it so much I made it almost everyday and never measured ingredients. This time I had to, as I planned to write the recipe here. But don't worry if the ratio is a little skewed or the texture of your nut flour not right. The clafoutis will still taste great.
(about 12 small servings)
full fat milk 1 cup
malai or heavy cream 1/4 cup ( I always use malai, you can replace it with butter 2 tbsp)
sago pearls or sago flour 1/4 cup
almonds 1/4 cup
quarters or smaller bits of walnuts 1/4 cup
sugar 1/4 cup ( I used a little lesser)
half a pod of vanilla bean
a generous pinch of salt
large eggs 3
dark cherries as required or about half a kilo pitted
Powder the sugar with scissor cut vanilla bean. Now add the sago pearls in the same blender and powder it along with the sugar. Add the nuts too and powder every thing together. I use a mixie so adding them one by one results in finer texture, you can use your own trusted machine and trusted method.
Whisk the eggs in a deep bowl, add the milk and cream and whisk till smooth. Add the sugar and nuts powder and whisk well. Keep aside.
Grease you tart pan or a simple metal pan lightly and arrange the cherries in one single layer. You can use 2 smaller pans or several individual servings, like I did this time. The cherries need not be in one single layer in this case, I placed a dozen cherries in each of these cups. Use ramekins or small bowls, these are Chinese teacups.
Pour the batter over cherries and bake in preheated oven at 160 C for 25 minutes or till fluffed up and looks set in the middle. A knife should come out clean or almost clean as adding sago makes it a little sticky.
Take out, let it cool to comfortable temperature to eat. It is best served warm, usually dusted with powdered sugar but I don't bother with that.
One thing to note if you are planning to have the leftovers the next day, or to serve the clafouti the next day. It tastes a little eggy when cold, so it's always better to serve it warm. Somehow the vanilla and cherry flavors shine when the clafouti is warm and the eggyness takes over when these aromatic flavors are arrested at colder temperature. So warm clafouti is a tradition for a reason I feel.
One of those warm desserts you wont mind having in Indian summers.