Waiting for Cherries. A different Clafoutis

One of the joys of Christmas, as far as our seasonal food calendar goes, is the arrival of fresh cherries in abundance. The season usually peaks in mid to late December but this year they are appearing more slowly, thanks to a very cold Spring. The plump, expensive boxes have hit the shelves, but I am still waiting for the big flush, when cherries appear in luscious piles on fruiterers’ tables, dark, plump and cheap, the Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailer cherries, to hang over ears or slurp out of the bag before reaching home, as well as a few kilos to preserve in Brandy, or to stud a Clafoutis.

A comforting little pudding.
A comforting little pudding.

In the meantime, this unusual recipe for Cherry Clafoutis caught my eye. It utilises dried sour cherries, reconstituted in Cognac. Or perhaps the Cognac caught my eye first, a Christmas life saver of a drink for those who feel a little stressed.

Preserved Cherry Clafoutis.

  • 150 ml pouring cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 2 eggs
  • 85 gr caster sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 25 gr ( 1/3 cup) plain flour, sifter
  • icing sugar to serve
  • clotted cream, or mascarpone whipped with cream, or just cream, to serve

Preserved Cherries

  • 60 gr dried cherries
  • 100 gr white sugar
  • 3 ml Cognac

For preserved cherries, combine dried cherries in a saucepan with sugar, Cognac and 150 ml water and cool on low heat for 7-8 minutes until liquid is syrupy. Watch that the liquid doesn’t turn to toffee.

Preheat oven to 180C. Heat cream and vanilla bean in a saucepan over medium heat, bring to boil, remove from heat and cool. Remove vanilla bean. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until light and creamy. In a separate bowl, whisk egg white until soft peaks form, then add the cream mixture and fold to combine. add the flour and fold in, then slowly beat in the egg mixture.

Spoon cherries into a lightly buttered and sugared 6 cup ovenproof baking dish. Pour batter over cherries and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Serve immediately, dusted liberally with icing sugar and with cream.

The cherries are in hiding.
The cherries are in hiding.

This version of clafoutis is very light and more like a souffle in texture, so it is best to eat it straight from the oven, though I must mention that it is rather nice at 6.30 am, eaten straight from the fridge, which is the quiet hour when I like to write and eat leftovers. The recipe is also handy for all other seasons, and may suit the cherry- deprived in the Northern Hemisphere. Of course you can use fresh cherries or ones you preserved from last year.

close up of clafoutis
The heart of a clafoutis

**The recipe is from a Gourmet Traveller Annual Cookbook and is attributed to Peter Gilmour.

And now for a song plant/ear worm for the day. Just change the chorus from Sherry Baby to Cherry Baby when you make a classic cherry Clafoutis.

33 thoughts on “Waiting for Cherries. A different Clafoutis”

  1. I noticed the cherries seem very slow to arrive this year. I can usually eat a serving of cherries and this recipe looks like it would be fine with gluten free flour. Looks so delicious. Thank you Francesca. Your biscotti are on the agenda for the weekend….

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    1. Thanks Ardys. I was thinking about how to make it GF. Given that it is such a minimal amount of flour, you could use GF flour or almond meal too. This version is puffier and lighter than the usual one I make. Hope the biscotti go well. I need to make another batch too.

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  2. I adore cherries and I adore clafoutis. Methinks that, given the unseasonal cold and wet weather we’ve been having, your wish for cheap cherries may not eventuate. That said, the fruit is plump and delicious this year, perhaps more than in previous seasons… a great investment. Lovely recipe, Francesca xx

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  3. I must go back and buy that packet of dried cherries! I did however from that same greengrocer buy a big jar of pitted cherries. Hmmmm. I wonder how we will fair with fresh cherries this year. Last year they we prolific enough that I cooked up a batch in Buller Malmsey and froze them.

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  4. Fantastic. Preserved cherries are so good. My German cousin always had cherries in preserved rum used in baking tarts. Rum soaked cherries were typical in a German Deli. Cognac cherries sound delcious. I especially like your fresh vanilla pod. Sensational flavours. 💖

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  5. An anytime cherry clafouti – wonderful to have a recipe for pre and post cherry season. Is it my imagination, or is the cherry season getting shorter and shorter? We get lovely cherries here in Greece, but in our spring – round about May, but they are gone in a flash.

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  6. I love cherries but just fresh, not cooked so will have to try the reconstituted dried sour type to test. Mandatory cherry spitting competition might not eventuate for Christmas this year if too expensive or not available. Flipping birds ate all of mine while still green, will be interesting to see if there are many at the Dandy Market later this week.

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  7. I’ve been desperate for the reasonably priced cherries to kick in. I haven’t bought any to date and was very envious of the cherries over on Glenda’s January IMK. Luckily, I have laid down a stock of cherries in brandy, in the good years so they would be perfect for this recipe.

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  8. Forgive my late visit, Francesca,. I am so very far behind but had to stop here once I saw that your post dealt with cherries. We are of one mind when it comes to the red jewels, especially the tart varieties. While you wait for their arrival, I’ve several containers frozen to be used in the weeks ahead. There’s nothing like a cherry pie in the dead of winter to remind me of summer’s warmth. Well, maybe this year I’ll prepare your clafoutis. 🙂

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