Pity me, people, for I am allergic to apples, and stonefruit of all kinds. Stonefruit and the start of the apple season are one of the best things about the fading summer, but for me it can be torture!. I’m not highly allergic, but I get an uncomfortable itching and slight swelling in my lips, mouth and throat. And it doesn’t happen every time. I seem to get along better with organic fruit, perhaps because the varieties chosen for organic growing are different from the most common conventional varieties. So I often ignore my allergy and shove a particularly lucious-looking apricot (or as Helly introduced me to last week, an apricot-nectarine cross – I have no idea what that’s called) into my mouth, only to scrabble through my handbag for an antihistamine moments later.
Luckily, there is one guaranteed way for me to eat stonefruit without a reaction: cook them first. One of my favourite ways of eating nectarines involves halving them and cooking them in a reduction of orange juice and Cointreau; delicious served with marscapone or vanilla cream.
With cherries though, it has to be clafoutis. It makes a great quick weeknight dessert, and the leftovers are great for breakfast the next morning. I leave the stones in the cherries; it means you have to take care while eating but then I think it forces you to savour every bite.
Slightly rubbish photos, I’m afraid, which is why I haven’t blogged this before – I seem to be incapable of getting any photos that reflect how utterly delicious this dessert is.
First you need some cherries; about 300g. Here in the picture you can see 250. It’s not enough – don’t skimp on cherries! Wait until the local cherries come on the market. It’s worth it.
You want them in a single layer on the bottom of your dish. If they just won’t fit you’ll have to pop a couple in your mouth as you go. If you’re not me, this is probably a good idea. If you’re me, sometimes you will give the spares to your cherry-loving flatmate instead. It’s a win-win – that’s all it takes to get her to do the dishes.
Next, whip up a quick batter with 2 eggs, 200ml milk, 40 grams of flour, 40 grams of sugar, and a heaped teaspoon of baking powder. Add a few drops of vanilla essence or cherry brandy if you have it.
Pour it over the cherries:
Stop pouring when the cherries start to float. You don’t want too much batter. Incidentally, once I made this with almond milk and it was really tasty, however the batter was a little more dense.
Stick it in a hot oven (about 180 degrees) and cook for 30-35 minutes or until it starts to turn golden brown on top.
Here’s the hard part: you have to take it out of the oven and leave it to cool for a bit. It will sink down a little in the middle, that’s ok. Serve with lashings of single cream.