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Cherry Clafouti

Sarah West

Need a break from crisps? Haven't yet mastered the art of pie dough? Want something new (and French) in your summer dessert lineup? This ridiculously easy French classic is the one. Something like a custardy Dutch baby - or a crepe morphing into thick, cherry-studded pudding - clafouti showcases summer fruit with all the class of its home cuisine and none of the fuss.

You can put any fruit into a clafouti. Something about the stone fruits' syrupy acidity complements rich clafouti batter, and the lack of small, hard seeds (as raspberries and blackberries would add) heightens the sensation that you are dining on fruit-flavored silk. I like the cherry version best, but for variety I sometimes sub plums, pluots, or apricots for half of the cherries.

Clafouti is the reason I freeze cherries; pitted, you can pop them right into a freezer bag and forget about them until winter. To use, defrost on the counter in a colander placed over a bowl to separate the fruit from their juice (and be sure to use that juice for something else!). If using frozen cherries, up the quantity to 3 cups when measured frozen.

Serves 4

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups pitted sweet cherries
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
3 large farm-fresh eggs
1/4 cup yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (or 1/2 teaspoon orange extract)
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pie pan

1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees F. Butter a 10-inch glass or ceramic pie pan and sprinkle it with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Arrange the cherries in a single layer in the bottom of the pan.

2. Sift the flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the salt into a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, vanilla, and orange zest until very smooth, then whisk in the milk. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and whisk to combine. Pour over the cherries, dot the top with the 1 tablespoon butter, and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

3. Bake until golden brown, 40-45 minutes. Cool 10-20 minutes and serve with gently whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Adapted from Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff