02 July 2007

Clafoutis aux Cerise (with how-to)

(Cherry Clafouti) I think someone heard my prayers and stocked fresh cherries at Crossings supermarket. The even weirder bit is that they only cost $1.40 for a little more than 500 grams. I bought that much because I thought I'd be making pie (in hindsight it wasn't nearly enough for pie), but I thought, what better way to bring out the unadulterated taste of cherries than with a clafouti? I can always buy cherry pie filling, and I've tasted that before. I've never had clafouti before. It's a rustic french dessert that resembles many things: a pudding, a flan, a thick crepe. But I used part of a recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Paris Sweets, with the recipe here.
Cherry Clafoutis
The recipe called for pitted cherries. It's traditionally with the pits since it intensifies the flavor and prevents the juice from coloring the custard pink, but I liked the idea of easy eat-ability. Kind of a mistake. The juices ran out of the cherries and water-logged my clafouti. After a while, though, it reabsorbed the juice, so it was saved. The taste was great, but it relies too much on the quality of the cherries, which I don't think were the strong point of my cheap ones. But still, we finished it in less than twelve hours.

My dad had to ask me how in the world did I get all the pits out? It's a simple trick that requires a paper clip unbent to an "S" shape.

Take out the stem of the cherry and plunge one of the ends of the paper clip into the exposed stem end.

Take a feel for the pit and loosen it with the paper clip "spoon," then hook it around the lower end of the pit.

Flick out the pit. Sometimes the flesh will be so adherent to the pit that this won't be easy without causing some damage, but it's not a big deal.

Voilà! Minimum damage and a minimal exit wound (also the same as the entry wound, by the way, heh heh). This also works on olives, by the way. If you plan on doing this a lot, I would recommend a cherry pitter, just because it's faster, less messy, and won't strain your fingers, but who wants a one-job wonder for a few dozen cherries?

Another trick you can use is to drive three nails through a board so that the points are the vertices to a small triangle, then plunge each cherry through this, leaving the pit on top and the cherry perforated. However, the safety aspect of it is not so hot.

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