As it happens, the fantastic Dessert Corps volunteer crew provided me with a half-dozen eggs and more than a pound of gorgeous, blushing Rainier Cherries — sweet, fragrant and fresh from the Greenpoint farmers' market.
Not familiar with the Rainier? It was developed in Washington state in the 1950s, as a descendant of the big, beautiful Bing Cherry and the smaller, more obscure (but very hardy) Van Cherry.
Apparently the Rainier fetches princely prices because the birds eat about a third of the crop and because they bruise easily, so there’s some waste in transit.
By that measure, a Rainier Cherry Clafoutis is a dessert (or brunch treat) that’s fit for kings! Or perhaps recently deposed royalty! Or maybe just your friends who happen to be a bit down on their fortunes and need a bit of home-baked comfort.
You choose the audience. I’ll provide the recipe:
Fresh Cherry Clafoutis (Makes one 8" dish)
2 1/2 cups (roughly) pitted Rainier cherries
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup toasted almonds
4 large eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup cream (or milk)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1 tsp lemon zest (optional)
Confectioner’s sugar (for dusting)
- Preheat oven to 325°F and butter an 8" round or square baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, gently toss the cherries with the cornstarch and spread evenly across the bottom of the buttered dish.
- Blend the flour and almonds in a blender or food processor until nuts are very finely chopped.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and salt. Whisk in flour until just mixed.
- Blend in cream, melted butter, vanilla (or almond) extract and lemon zest (if using), whisking until smooth. Pour this mixture over the cherries.
- Bake until the center sets and the top begins to turn golden, about 55 minutes.
- Cool to room temperature before dusting the surface with powdered sugar. Serve with vanilla ice cream or yogurt, if desired.
Bon appétit, mes amis!