It’s mid-August, but here in the greater Atlanta area the past couple of days have felt more like late October, with crisp, clear mornings and a much more moderate temperature than usual.
This is good.
I love the transition from summer to autumn, and if by some miracle it takes place a bit early, you will not hear me complaining.
And yet, I love summer. One of the little pleasures of Sweaty Season is the availability of delicious sweet Bing and Rainier cherries at reasonable prices, and so there will be, more often than not, a bag or two of those little beauties residing in our fridge this time of year.
I’m not sure why I was inspired to actually do something with our latest pile of cherry inventory besides eat them out of hand, but I got it in my head to use them for cooking up something sweet... and so I did.
There’s a classic French dessert called clafoutis (AKA clafouti, pronounced “clafootie” to rhyme with “tutti frutti”), a sort of rusticated cherry tart that is a bastard child of a Dutch baby pancake and a fruit cobbler. It’s been around long enough to have shown up in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and to have surfaced in numerous places online. The recipe is pretty straightforward, the hardest part being pitting all of those damned cherries.
I tweaked the formula a bit by macerating the cherries in kirschwasser for a couple of hours... and instead of a tablespoon of vanilla, I cut that amount in half and added a teaspoon of almond extract, a flavor that is a natural complement to that of cherries. About an hour in a 350°F oven and... BOOM.
A rooty tooty, fresh and fruity clafoutis.
Was it good? Yes, it was, damn it.
Before we know it, summer really will be winding down. In the meantime, we may as well enjoy the wonderful flavors the season has to offer. Clafoutis! Have one today.
Update: The estimable Big Hominid calls another clafoutis treat to our attention: Jasmine Cuisine’s Clafoutis Choco-Cerise from Québec. ’Cause, you know, chocolate and cherries.