Last night, inspired by a three-pound sack of sweet English peas from the farmers market, we gave the grill a rest.
We shelled and we shelled. For every two pods that we emptied into the bowl, we scraped one directly into our mouths with our teeth. It's possible that I have these numbers reversed. We had to keep our strength up, after all.
One of the nice things about a simple, pasta-and-salad meal is that it leaves room in your belly for dessert. Room for dessert is always a venerable goal. But it takes on special meaning when you're visiting Washington State in late June, and therefore swimming in a sea of just-picked cherries. At a stand by the side of the road, cherries were going for little more than a dollar a pound. A steal, people. We couldn't resist and, apparently, neither could our friends who drove up to visit us the following day. And that, dear reader, is how we ended up with not one, but two bursting bags of cherries on our hands. It was truly an embarrassment of riches.
The only sensible thing to do was to bake a clafoutis.
As far as I'm concerned, clafoutis is French for "throw some fruit in a dish and dump a bowlful of batter over top," because that's really all there is to it. The eggy batter puffs up while the clafoutis bakes, and then sinks back down and around the cherries as it cools. The result is something that more closely resembles a custard than a cake. If a dessert can be defined, in part, by its serving utensil, clafoutis is somewhat of an enigma: Its firm-yet-creamy consistency is equally suited to slicing and scooping. And the cherries? They burrow into the sweet, cushiony custard, release their juices and - all tuckered out, I suppose - slump lazily in their own private craters.
There was much bowl scraping, last night, and spoon licking today, after bites stolen directly from the fridge.
Adapted from Garrett McCord via Simply Recipes
Traditional clafoutis is made with unpitted cherries because of the almondy flavor that the pits impart to the dish. I decided to pit the cherries, nevertheless. The original recipe calls for a 9x9 or 10x7 inch baking dish. I didn't have either on hand, so I used a 12-inch deep-dish pie plate. If you are not as fortunate as I am to have hit the cherry jackpot, you can make this clafoutis with raspberries, blueberries, plums, apricots, or peaches instead.
2-3 c. of fresh sweet cherries, pitted
1 c. sugar
1 T. brown sugar
1/2 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
1/8 t. salt
1 c. whole milk
2 t. Amaretto, or 1 t. almond extract
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and lightly flour the baking dish, and toss in the cherries.
2. Whisk the eggs, sugars, salt, and flour together until smooth.
3. Add the milk, almond extract or liqueur, and the vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pour into the baking dish.
4. Bake for 40-50 minutes until lightly browned. It is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The finished clafoutis should still jiggle slightly in the dish.
5. Place the dish on a cooling rack. The clafoutis will deflate as it cools. I like to serve clafoutis slightly warm, with a dusting of powdered sugar on top.