About three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, we head to the farmers’ market near our home to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. I avoid, as much as possible, going to the supermarket with two tiny tots in tow, but the farmers’ market makes grocery shopping a pure pleasure. There are no crowded and narrow aisles to navigate, which means the children can run around from stand to stand, inspecting the beautiful produce on display and “help” me to do the shopping.
Our first stop is always at the Bäckerie Känzig stand for a Müüsli for my son (a sweetened bun in the shape of a mouse which is sprinkled with pearl sugar), and a Volkorngipfeli (multigrain croissant) for my daughter. The ladies working the stand have a soft spot for children and always give half a Weggli (soft bread roll) to each child. With these baked goods secured, the children are kept occupied for a brief moment while I visit my usual vendors.
Once the shopping is done, we then often head to a nearby playground for the children to burn off the calories from the morning’s intake of pastries. But in the event of rain (we always go to the markets, rain or shine), we like to pop into one of the many coffee shops nearby where I try to enjoy a coffee while my daughter gets up to mischief.
My favourite indulgence at the moment is sitting down with a bag of cherries to devour as a meal, all on my lonesome. And while binge-watching back-to-back episodes of The Americans on TV. Of course, this means that I also have to buy an extra bag of cherries for the family to enjoy, which often disappears the moment I set the bowl on the table. I’m loving the big, fat, juicy cherries which are imported next door from France; the children can’t seem to get enough of them, which has therefore made them a great tool for bribery in our household these past few weeks. (The Swiss cherries are very good, too, but just not as meaty.)
But the unthinkable happened the other day – I bought too many cherries. Or rather, I went a bit overboard with the other stone fruits which are coming into season and the once plump but firm cherries were starting to look a bit past their prime. While I think cherries are best enjoyed eaten just as they are, adding them to a cake is a better option if they are a bit too ripe for eating.
But after posting the photo for my Cherry Crumble Cake on Instagram, someone mentioned cherry clafoutis and I knew that that had to be next on my to-bake list.
A clafoutis is a French dessert which, in its original form, is a rich custard baked until it is set. Cherries are a popular fruit used in clafoutis, and the stones are traditionally left in, supposedly because they add to the flavour of the dessert. But as we now live in a litigious society, I recommend pitting the cherries first, which also means you can be more relaxed about serving this dessert to children and older guests.
This recipe is adapted from A Kitchen in France by the lovely and ever-inspiring Mimi Thorisson. I had a bottle of orange flower water in the pantry which had remained untouched for a terribly long time, but I was reminded of her recipe as I was wondering what to do with this orange flower water. This dessert is fairly easy to whip up, and as it needs time to set, it’s also perfect to make a bit ahead of time if you have guests coming over later in the day.
- 3½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 450g (1 lb) cherries, stemmed and pitted
- 70g (3/4 cup) plain flour
- 65g (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 vanilla bean or ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla powder
- 200ml (3/4 cup plus 1½ tablespoons) full cream milk
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon orange flower water
- icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
- Butter a 23cm (9 inch) round cake pan with high sides, and line the bottom with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and the seeds scraped from the vanilla bean (or pure vanilla powder).
- Whisk in the milk, and then whisk in the eggs, one at a time.
- Add the orange flower water and melted butter, and whisk until you have a smooth batter.
- Arrange the cherries on the bottom of the cake tin.
- Pour the batter over the cherries.
- Bake the clafoutis for 15 minutes.
- Lower the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F) and bake for a further 30 minutes or so, or until the clafoutis has puffed up and is lightly golden. It is important to use a cake tin with high sides (about 5 cm high) so that the mixture does not spill over the sides when it is puffing up.
- Let the cake cool and set on a wire rack for about 1 hour.
- Dust generously with icing sugar before serving.
Although cherries are the traditional fruit used in a clafoutis, you can substitute with other fruits such as apricots, peaches and blueberries.
Share your photos!
If you have tried this recipe, I would love to hear how it turned out! Please leave a comment below and share your photos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #eatlittlebird