Last Saturday we were having our first dinner party in about three months. I beetled around the house in a frenzy trying to knock the house into shape to give the illusion we are respectable. I set the table with all my new homewares from Bali, I bought a vase full of lilies, and there were candles; hundreds of candles (maybe not that many).
But the little guy invited some friends over to play and then another boy from up the street joined in and so instead of being able to head out and buy food, I had to supervise the antics.
I had my wallet in my bag and my shopping list in my pocket but I couldn’t take leave of my watch. That’s quite stressful when you’re on the countdown for the arrival of six guests.
At 4pm the last of the boys was collected and then I raced to the shops, grabbing things off shelves and throwing them into my trolley. I was in full flight when I had a near-miss with a trolley coming from the opposite direction and can you believe it was being pushed by a friend of mine. And we hadn’t seen each other for about a year and I could tell she was ready for a catch-up. Anxiety now soaring.
I said, ‘Oh Chrissy, I’m so sorry, I can’t chat. In less than 90-minutes I have six people coming for dinner and I haven’t even started on the cooking’.
She said, ‘Oh, what are you doing about dessert, a clafoutis doesn’t take long’.
Chrissy must think I’m a magician. It’s quite true a clafoutis doesn’t take long but I did have a few other courses to prepare and I thought it would be nice to have five minutes up my sleeve to freshen up.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about what a great dessert a clafoutis is and so this week I made some. I thought I’d make cherry clafoutis because frozen cherries are easy to source.
No, they’re not actually easy to source and after a fruitless search (unintentional pun), I bought fresh cherries. Cherries aren’t in season in Oz at the moment so are a bit pricey so if you can find frozen, that’s a better option and no one will know the difference – promise!
A clafoutis is best served straight from the oven which can be stressful in a dinner party situation but the batter can sit on the bench until you’re ready to fill the ramekins then at the right moment they can be put in the oven. Twenty minutes later they’ll be out of the oven and ready to serve with a good dollop of quality ice cream.
This is a warming dessert that’s perfect to serve in winter and as well, it’s not too sweet or heavy so works well after a rich main course like I served on Saturday night, Beef Bourguignon.
- 600g of fresh cherries, stalks and stones removed
- ¾ cup castor sugar
- ½ cup flour
- pinch salt
- 4 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 cups lukewarm milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 60g unsalted butter, melted
- Place the cherries on a small tray just large enough to hold them in a single layer, scatter with ¼ cup and shake to coat in sugar. Place in the freezer for 1 hour or until firm.
- Sift remaining sugar, flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolks, milk and vanilla until combined. Gradually whisk egg mixture into flour mixture until smooth and combined. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes, then whisk in warm melted butter.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (375F).
- Grease six 1-cup capacity ceramic or porcelain oven proof dishes then place in a large roasting pan. Divide frozen cherries between dishes and gently pour in batter. Pour boiling water into roasting pan to come one-third of the way up side of dishes then bake for 20 minutes or until just set. Serve.