What I had for dinner:


[ Previous ] 7 Jun 1994 22:57:42 -0400 [   Next   ]

It's been a while, what with a long week-end filled with street food, then having to atone for a week; but it was worth it.

It's cherry time, of course. And to the French culinary tradition, cherries mean clafoutis (kla-foo-tee), a sort of half-cake/half-quiche traditionally made with cherries. But why not something else? Think waffles; think pancakes. Think Canadian bacon and cherries (no, not together. That daring I'm not).

The batter is very simple: 2 eggs well beaten, then 1 stick of butter, very soft or melted, is beaten in, followed by a cup of flour. It is important to blend everything well at this stage, because clumps would become untractable later. Stir in 1 cup of milk, and mix slowly until smooth and homogeneous. Reserve half of the mixture, and thin the other half with 1/4 cup of water.

Place in an aluminum 8"x5" dish some cooked bacon, or mushrooms, or onion, or whatever really. Sprinkle with pepper and nutmeg (salt if needed), and pour the batter over. Bake 30-35 min at 400F.

To the other half of the batter, add 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tbsp of dark rum. Mix well. Place 1/2 to 1 lb of cherries (no stems, but pits left in) in a (well buttered) dish as above, cover with the batter, and cook 40-45 min (the cherries take a bit longer to cook).

Serve hot, warm, or cold. Each half-recipe serves two or three.

(Fruit) clafoutis can be made with just about any berry, apricots (pitted), apple cubes, pineapple chunks, etc. For the luxury minded, add freshly whipped cream, or ice cream.

And since we are working on cherries, it is also time to put some in brandy, for those chocolate-covered cherries at Christmastime. The trick is to have the right amount of sugar and alcohol, otherwise the cherries may shrivel. I keep reusing the same syrup year after year. It contains about 20% sugar and 20% alcohol (i.e. 40 proof vodka). The density should be such that the cherries float in the middle, without sinking nor rising. If one year they tend to go up, I add alcohol to lower the density of the liquid, or sugar in the opposite case.

It takes at least a month or two for the cherries to be well pickled, but who'd want brandied cherries in August anyway?

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