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Cherries, blueberries star in this versatile dessert

Recipe: Cherry-blueberry clafoutis, served warm or cold


Bowl of red cherries
It's cherry season, and these beauties are
destined for a clafoutis. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)




This is cherry season, a fleeting late-spring delight. For home growers, every little fruit seems like a miracle – or a challenge. So many things – wind, rain, birds, squirrels – can destroy a once-promising crop. But for the lucky grower with a full tree, a bounty of cherries also produces a mountain of pits.

Blueberries are ripening now, too. This month, my little blueberry bushes are finally producing enough berries to actually MAKE something and not just nibble in the garden. But one cup at a time is not enough to make a full fruity dessert with just blueberries.

Cherries and blueberries in a white dish
The homepicked blueberries join the cherries in the buttered and
sugared dish.

Thanks to a neighbor’s generosity, I had a pint of fresh-picked homegrown cherries, as bright and beautiful as rubies, to go with my cup of blueberries. Together, they were just enough fruit for this combination clafoutis.

A clafoutis (pronounced klah-foo-tee) is a French fruity flan-like dessert. Tradition dictates that it be made with cherries, preferably black. Any other fruit, this dessert becomes a flaugnarde, according to my French cookbooks.

But that’s in France. American cooks (myself included) adapt this dessert to what’s in season – including blueberries, apricots, pears and apples. And we call it a clafoutis or clafouti (with no “s”). Either way, it’s delicious.

Another plus: This versatile dessert can be served warm or cold, making it a perfect summer treat. (It’s also tasty for breakfast or brunch.)

Instead of a traditional post-baking dusting of powdered sugar, a little Demerara sugar before baking adds crunch to the top of this clafoutis.

Bakes clafoutis in dish
The clafoutis is topped with Demerara
sugar for a nice crunch.
Cherry-blueberry clafoutis

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

Butter and sugar to grease and dust pan

2 cups cherries, pitted

1 cup blueberries

1 tablespoon sugar

3 eggs

½ cup sugar

½ cup flour

¾ cup heavy cream

¾ cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons Demerara sugar

Whipped cream, optional

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare an 11-inch tart or quiche pan or 10-inch deep pie plate. Grease pan with butter. Sprinkle with sugar, then invert to remove excess. Set aside.

Clafoutis slice with whipped cream
The whipped cream topping is optional for serving but
delicious.


In a large bowl, gently toss cherries, blueberries and 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer until foamy. Add ½ cup sugar and beat until foamy and fairly thick. Add the flour and beat until smooth. Then, add cream, milk and vanilla; beat until mixture is smooth and thick.

Arrange the fruit in a single layer at the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Pour batter over fruit. Sprinkle with Demerara sugar over top.

Bake at 350 degrees until top is nicely browned and custard is set; a thin knife blade inserted near center will come out clean (about 30 minutes).

Serve warm or cold, with whipped cream if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.



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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Nov. 27

Before the rain comes later in the week, take advantage of sunny, calm days:

* This may be your last chance this season for the first application of copper fungicide spray to peach and nectarine trees. Leaf curl, which shows up in the spring, is caused by a fungus that winters as spores on the limbs and around the tree in fallen leaves. Sprays are most effective now, but they need a few days of dry weather after application to really “stick.” If you haven’t yet, spray now.

* Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material. For example, if peach and nectarine trees showed signs of leaf curl this year, clean up under trees and dispose of those leaves instead of composting.

* Make sure storm drains are clear of any debris.

* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim chrysanthemums to 6 to 8 inches above the ground after they’re done blooming. Keep potted mums in their containers until next spring. Then, they can be planted in the ground, if desired, or repotted.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.

* Plant bulbs for spring bloom. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Other suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas.

* Seed wildflowers including California poppies.

* Also from seed, plant sweet pea, sweet alyssum, bachelor buttons and other spring flowers.

* Plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from winter rains.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cool-season greens can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* If you decide to use a living Christmas tree this year, keep it outside in a sunny location until Christmas week. This reduces stress on the young tree.

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