Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Recipe: Cherry and Nectarine Clafoutis

After a few long, hard weeks of eating out and sunning myself in Spain, I was desperate to get back in the kitchen and actually cook. And as I am up north for a few days I had even more of a treat in store -  my mother-in-law's red Aga, just sat there all warm and cosy and waiting to be used. I decided to make a pudding that has long intrigued me but that I'd never attempted - a cherry clafoutis.

I took the basic recipe from trusty Waitrose (you can find the orginal here) but I made a few adaptations. I didn't have enough cherries left after nibbling my way through a few handfuls, and so I made a cherry and nectarine concoction, and whereas Waitrose recommended six drops of vanilla extract I only used four as I find it overpowering.


300g cherries, halved and stoned
2 nectarines, stoned and finely chopped, skin on
10 tbsp caster sugar
75g butter
100g plain flour (could use 50g flour and 50g ground almonds for a denser finish)
1 egg, plus 3 egg yolks
4 drops of vanilla essence
Zest of one lemon
160ml milk
160ml whipping cream (or double, some upermarkets seem to have taken away the whipping option for some odd reason)

Mix the cherries and nectarines and sprinkle with 1 tbsp of sugar and leave to stand for a few hours.

I cooked mine in the baking oven of the Aga (which needed a slightly longer cooking time) but if you don't have that luxury (as I normally don't), then preheat oven to 190c/gas mark 5, once you are ready to start and the fruit is nice and juicey.

Heat the butter until golden and then leave to cool. Brush your dish - whatever one you fancy but around 20cm for circular, and then sprinkle over 3 tbsp of caster sugar. This will add a crust to the finished pud.

Mix the flour with a pinch of salt and make a well in the middle. Pour the eggs, the last 6 tbsps of sugar, the lemon zest and vanilla extract in the middle and whisk slowly to a smooth paste. Once smooth incorporate the milk and cream, and then the browned butter.

Combine the mixture with the cherries and pour into your waiting dish. Bake for 35-45 minutes (I found it needed closer to 50 mins in the Aga). I toasted a few flaked almonds while it cooked and these looked pretty sprinkled over the top.

The clafoutis is best eaten warm from the oven with a sprinkle of sugar and a large dollop of clotted cream ice cream. We found it was the perfect dessert after our hearty beef roast.

I was pleased with the final result but next time I might try it the purest's way - with whole cherries. Obviously this will result in the rather unlady like gesture of removing stones while eating, but apprently the flavour and juiciness that the whole cherries produce is more than worth it.  

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