UNSOLICITED ADVICE

ON THE TWENTY-THIRD DAY OF CRANKVENT... FORGET THE CHRISTMAS PUD, GET SOME CHRISTMAS CLAFOUTIS

In the southern hemisphere there is a happy correlation between the festive season and cherry season. Why, then, isn't cherry clafoutis our national Christmas dish? Get on it, people!

Here are two recipes: the first is more traditional, the second a little more fail-proof (it contains a rising agent so you run less risk of a rubbery pudding). Not pitting the cherries means you have to be a bit more careful eating the finished dessert, but they become fabulously plump on cooking and the pips also impart a flavour of their own to the dish.

Jeff's Clafoutis (baked cherry custard)

  • 750g ripe black cherries, not pitted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 c (125g) sugar
  • 75g melted butter
  • 2/3 c (75g) plain flour
  • 1 c (250ml) milk
  • vanilla sugar

Preheat oven to 200C. Wash, dry and stem cherries.

Butter an ovenproof china or glazed earthenware mould large enough to hold the cherries in a single layer. Place the cherries inside.

Combine the eggs and yolk in a bowl, add the sugar and whisk until the mixture is pale in colour. Then whisk in the butter.

Sift in the flour and mix well, then mix in the milk. Continue beating until batter is smooth; pour over cherries.

Bake for 40 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven and sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Serve lukewarm, from the baking dish. Serves 6.

Sarah's clafoutis

  • 8 large ripe apricots or similar fruit (plums, cherries)
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 60g plain flour
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 120ml milk
  • 180ml thickened cream
  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • pouring or clotted cream, to serve

Preheat oven to fan-forced 220C (240C conventional). Place caster sugar, flour, almonds and baking powder in a food processor and whiz until combined. (You can mix by hand if you don't have a food processor)

Whisk eggs, milk and cream in a bowl, then add egg mixture to the food processor and whiz until well combined. (See previous note vis-a-vis food processors)

Pour mixture around fruit and bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden and cooked. Dust with icing sugar and serve with cream. Serves 6-8.

(From Sunday Life magazine)

We're not claiming that cherry clafoutis can cure all diseases of the throat and lungs like Ayer's Cherry Pectoral could but it's still pretty good for what ails you (unless what ails you is dairy intolerance). Advertising postcard published by Dr J C Ayer & Co. c1870s. Wellcome Library, London, image no. L0041339.

We're not claiming that cherry clafoutis can cure all diseases of the throat and lungs like Ayer's Cherry Pectoral could but it's still pretty good for what ails you (unless what ails you is dairy intolerance). Advertising postcard published by Dr J C Ayer & Co. c1870s. Wellcome Library, London, image no. L0041339.