I’ve been making a lot of mistakes lately. They range from mistakes in judgement, like not painting my daughter’s bedroom the exact shade of lemon yellow that she wanted (I tried four colors before giving up), or forgetting to equally disperse summer time chores and getting accused of not making everything “fair,” or simply buying the wrong sized shoes for back to school shopping (I don’t get brownie points for doing my shopping early). When it comes to food, however, the mistakes have so far been delicious and this time my Cherry Clafoutis is proof of that.
Mistake #1—Not getting my act together fast enough to use the wholesome, locally source cherries I purchased from the farmer’s market. I purchased a bag weeks ago. I threw out that bag on Friday. I misjudged the amount of “free time” I would have to make and blog it, in part because I was painting my daughter’s room and making different mistakes there. Instead, I opted for commercially grown, mass marketed, store-purchased cherries.
(They were just as good.)
Mistake #2—Not being authentic. Ideally, Cherry Clafoutis has a slightly almond taste. Supposedly, you can get this by leaving the pit as it gives off a slightly almondy flavor. Some purists say this is the true French way to serve it, because it forces you to eat slowly and carefully thus you can truly enjoy the food. As someone who prefers to have my teeth intact and wants to avoid paying unnecessary dental bills, I willingly made this mistake, taking the extra 15 minutes to pit those cherries, and using a bit of almond extract instead.
(It may not be authentic, but I’m happy to report that after enjoying American-sized portions, my choppers are still working. And, my little helper liked being delegated this particular task. )
Mistake #3—Not double-checking the amount of cherries needed. The store-bought cherries came in a bag that I assumed was about 1 pound. I think it may have been closer to 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, which was fine for my skillet, as it fit the bottom perfectly. It threw the cherry-to-batter ratio off, however, so I ended up with a really fruity clafoutis that leaked cherry juice everywhere.
(“Too many cherries!” said no one ever.)
Mistake #4—Adding the sugar too early. I should have added it when the clafoutis was almost finished, so that the top would have more of a sugary crust.
(No one noticed.)
And so, after baking the required 45 minutes and checking for doneness by inserting a knife to make sure it came out clean, I made my last—and biggest—mistake.
Mistake #5—Waiting too long to eat it. When it first came out, the Cherry Clafoutis was light and bubbling and bursting with cherry goodness. Having no experience working with custard-type dishes, I thought it might be better to let it set and serve it at room temperature. Instead, it deflated by the time I enjoyed it. And I tortured myself by waiting.
Cherry clafoutis is suppose to be a rustic dish, so it didn’t surprise me that I couldn’t get a neat slice. It sorta slipped and fell onto my plate in a juicy mess. Despite all the mistakes that were made, it still was the perfect, light summertime dessert filled with fruity cherry flavor. Custardy and dense, each bite filled with cherries that filled it with natural sweetness.
Oscar Wilde once said, “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” If that’s true, it means next summer, I’m making plans that give me enough time away from my kids.
It also means I’m a Cherry Clafoutis expert.
- softened butter for preparing the baking dish
- 1 pound sweet (Bing) cherries, pitted
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp almond extract
- ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1⅓ cup milk
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Smear a 2-quart shallow baking dish liberally with butter. (I used a 10-inch skillet).
- Stem and pit the cherries. Lay them in a single layer in the baking dish.
- Use a blender to mix together the rest of the ingredients (flour, extracts, sugar, milk), for about 20 seconds until smooth.
- Pour the batter over the cherries. Sprinkle the top with the 3 tablespoons of sugar.
- Bake the clafoutis for 45 minutes or until the custard is just set. Check by poking with a knife in the center (It should come out clean).
Recipe from David Lebovitz.