Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is a Whole-Cherry Clafoutis or Clafoutis aux Cerises..The French are partial to Clafoutis - a rich, baked batter, typically studded with cherries.
A Clafoutis is like a batter pudding, where fruit is suspended in a flour and egg batter. Some recipes are soft, like a deflated soufflé, others, like this recipe, firmer and more custard like. A Clafoutis of Cherries is probably the best known, though all stone fruits such as peaches and apricots and other fruits such as pears are used sometimes, too. Apart from the cherries (and yes, I pitted them – even Gaston Lenôtre´s recipe calls for pitted cherries) you will need fresh eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla (I scraped the seeds from a vanilla bean), flour, milk and cream. For baking the Clafoutis you will need a shallow china dish or a few mini oven-proof dishes like the ones that I used.
One of the delights of the summer, cherries are much loved for their succulent texture, flavor and gorgeous good looks. The juicy flesh can be sweet or sour, depending on which of the hundreds of varieties they are. Since cherries are at their peak in mid-July, what better time to make the most of these summer fruits. You should make sure to buy plump, shiny cherries that have their stalks attached and you should always look for fruit that is dark red, firm but not hard. Generally, pale cherries are sweet and dark cherries more acidic. It is always a good idea to try before you buy to get the flavor that you prefer. Remove stalks and use a cherry stoner to pit the cherries. You can keep unwashed cherries in the fridge for 3-4 days and wash them just before serving. Cherries also freeze well. Sweet cherries are suitable for eating, sour cherries are great in tarts, pies, crumbles and sauces.
There is only one sort of drawback to cherries, if you are not lucky enough to have a cherry tree in your garden, they tend to be rather expensive, so you never get to eat enough of them. But at this time of year, when the crop is ripe and the harvest is going full tilt you should binge on cherries. Compared to most other fruits, cherries are low in sugar, so the dusting of the top of the Clafoutis with icing sugar is not a conceit, that extra hit of sweetness seems necessary.
It was time to take our dessert on a picnic again, seeing that the weather has not been the friendliest all summer long, it was so nice to take advantage of a nice and sunny day and visit a wonderful castle about a half-hour drive from where we live.
The Augustusburg and Falkenlust palaces in Bruehl, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany have been listed as a UNESCO cultural World Heritage Site since 1984 as examples of beautifully preserved rococo architecture. They are connected by the spacious gardens and trees of the castle grounds (Schlosspark).
The palaces were built at the beginning of the 18th century by the arch-bishop of Cologne, Clemens August of Bavaria (1700-1761) of the Wittelsbach family. The architects were Johann Conrad Schlaun and François de Cuvilliés.
The gardens were designed by Dominique Girard. An elaborate flower garden for an area south of the palaces was also designed, but it was restructured by Peter Joseph Lenné in the 1800s and turned into a landscape garden.
In the hunting lodge called “Falkenlust”, Clemens August could pursue his favorite hobby falconry and entertain guests.
Schloss Falkenlust (Falkenlust Castle) was built from 1729 to 1740, in the style of the Amalienburg hunting lodge in the park of Nymphenburg Palace by François de Cuvilliés. It is within walking distance of the Augustusburg palace. It is open to the public and inside you can see the fantastic decorated interior and furnishings. Outside are fabulous gardens, with fields, ponds, and wooded areas.
Nearby is a chapel which is built to represent a secluded grotto.
The inside and the outside of the tiny chapel were decorated with glass stones in different colors (blue, green and turquoise) and sea shells - quite different and very pretty.
I have made many Clafoutis before and I have even blogged about a Percoche Clafoutis (which is a stone fruit as well and a cross between a peach and an apricot). Clafoutis is a wonderful easy and versatile dessert that everyone enjoys whether you prepare it in one large dish or use individual serving dishes.
To see whether the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed this recipe as well, you can click here.
“La pâtisserie, vous savez, on ne la fait pas pour nourrir les gens mais pour leur offrir de la douceur à partager.” (GL)
- For more information on the "Falkenlust and Augustusburg Castles”, you can visit the website of the main castle www.schlossbruehl.de.
- Both castles were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984 (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list).