On a recent foggy morning, something was up at the Saturday farmers’ market. Shoppers were preoccupied and looked like they were on a mission. A little ways from my stand, I saw a farmer struggled to put up his sign, then give up and toss it into his pickup. A crowd had already surrounded his stand. I got closer to investigate and then saw them: beautiful baskets filled with deep red cherries. “I’ll take four baskets,” a customer said urgently, as if they were the last baskets of fruit on earth. I got in line behind them.
Cherry season, which runs from May to July, heralds the start of summer. As soon as I see the first cherries, I know that the school year is about to end. When I can, I grab baskets of the sweet, jewel-like fruits. I usually start by just putting a big bowl for them in my kitchen for everyone to snack on, but I also love to bake and cook with them.
One of my favorite recipes is cherry clafoutis. Don’t be put off by the fancy French name — this dessert is one of the simplest things you can do with fruit. The batter is so easy, in fact, that it’s basically a big eggy pancake masquerading as a dessert. But filled with deep red fruit, it’s pretty enough (and tasty enough!) to wow guests.
- 3 cups of pitted and halved cherries
- 5 eggs
- ½ cup of sugar
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon of whiskey
- ¾ cup of all-purpose flour, sifted
- A pinch of salt
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9” pie dish and fill it with the cherries.
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until well combined. Add milk, vanilla, flour, salt, and whiskey, and mix well. Pour batter into the pie dish, on top of cherries.
Bake the clafoutis until it is puffy and lightly browned, and a toothpick comes out clean when you stick it in the center, about 50 minutes. Let the clafoutis cool until just slightly warm, or room temperature, then dust with powdered sugar just before serving.
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