I've been busy the past couple of days cleaning and preparing my house for guests, who will be arriving in a few hours. The guest bedroom has clean sheets and piles of towels have been set out. We have a simple menu planned for tonight—grilled lamb chops (that are marinating in olive oil and herbs), couscous with pine nuts, a green salad, and some of these gorgeous baby French peas that are just coming ripe in my garden.
I'll wait to pick and shell them until just before we start cooking. I'm also going to make a cherry clafouti for dessert. I've been wanting to try this recipe (from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1) for years. The cherries at the grocery store were beautiful today and it's supposed to be easy to make.
(Updated to say that, unfortunately, this wasn't a big hit. I don't think I did anything wrong but it tasted very eggy, which is a bad thing in flan or creme brulee and now this, too). One of my readers commented that it's her favorite recipe so, as with all recipes, personal taste is key. The peas, however, were perfect.)
3 cups pitted black cherries
1/4 cup kirsch or cognac
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
Let the cherries stand for an hour in a bowl with the kirsch and sugar.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Put remaining ingredients and the liquid that the cherries have been soaking in into the jar of your blender. Cover and blend on high speed for 1 minute.
Lightly butter an ovenproof 7- to 8-cup baking dish or 1 1/2 inch deep pie plate. Pour 1/4 inch of the batter into the bottom and set over moderate heat for a minute or two until a film of batter has set in the bottom of the dish. Remove from the heat.
Spread the cherries over the batter, then pour on the rest of the batter and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about an hour. The clafouti is done when it has puffed and browned and a knife plunged into the center comes out clean.
Sprinkle top with powdered sugar just before bringing it to the table. It doesn't need to be served hot but it's supposed to be better when warm. And it will shrink down slightly as it cools. Serves 6 to 8.
(If you want to make this without alcohol, don't marinate the cherries. Increase the amount of milk to 1 1/4 cups. Sprinkle 1/3 cup granulated sugar over the cherries before adding the rest of the batter.)
Tomorrow we're heading to the Shupp's Grove flea market in Adamstown, PA for one of their extravaganza weekends. Hopefully I'll have some treasures to show you next week!