When I was living in a small Dutch village as a child, I loved cherries. I have fond memories of my parents taking me and my brother on Wednesday or Sunday afternoons to the cherry orchard nearby and buying cherries by the kilo. I loved it when the seller handed me the paper bag full of these dark red ‘smiling’ fruits. As I grew older I lost my interest in cherries. I don’t know if it was because I moved to the big city or that I came to love the more exotic fruits which were neatly displayed in the Turkish and Moroccan stores at the end of the street.
I was reminded on how I used to adore cherries 5 years ago when I walked the Camino Frances, a 800 km walking trip from Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostella in the west of Spain. On every corner, even on rocky hillsides in a certain part of the trip, there where cherry sellers trying to make some money. And now, while I am living in southern Spain I can’t get around cherries. When they are in season, I buy them by the kilo again. I just pop them in my mouth or I use them to make a delicious clafoutis.
It is a smart dessert for your dinner party as you can bake this clafoutis in advance, let the puff deflate – which it will – and reheat it briefly in the oven just before serving. The original Clafoutis recipe from Limousin in France contains Kirch liqueur, but I left it out in my version.
Preheat the oven to 175°C and set the rack in the center.
If you are using almonds, toast them on a baking sheet or a dry pan until a light golden color. This takes about 3 minutes, but don’t leave the oven or pan out of sight as they burn quickly!
Remove the almonds from the oven or pan.
Increase the oven temperature to 200°C.
Butter the inside of your low ramekins.
Mix the milk, flour, sugar, cream, eggs, and salt together with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes, to incorporate a good amount of air into the batter. But make sure not to over-mix it.
Poor a little batter in each ramekin and make sure it covers the bottom and place them in the oven for just a few minutes.
Remove the ramekins from the oven and place the cherries halves in the low ramekins. Pour the rest of the batter over the cherries and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove the ramekins out of the oven and sprinkle toasted almonds if using
Return in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean which takes about another 15 - 25 minutes more.
Remove from the oven and let cool for a about 20 minutes.
Sprinkle powdered sugar on top and serve warm or at room temperature in the ramekins. If you can get the clafoutis out of its ramekins in one piece, you can dress it on a nice plate, swirl some blueberry or cherry syrup around it and garnish with some fresh cherries. Or serve it with a quenelle of (almond) cream.