Sunday, June 29, 2008

Clafouti aux Cerises - Cheery Clafouti

School is over and as we do every summer, we flew to France for a month. The whole family gathers at my parent's house, coming from all regions of the country, for a huge dinner.

Planning the meal requires patience! The choice of the main dish will dictate what the appetizer, side dish and dessert will be. We will then build the wine list according to each part of the menu. A staple of the summer table is the Rosé wine. It is served chilled and is light and refreshing. French rosé are not sweet nor heavy and the choices are endless.

Meals in France are a big deal. Unlike a typical dinner in an American family, which usually lasts no more than half an hour, dinner in France can last for hours. We start with the aperitive: wines, whisky, gin or Campari, olives, peanuts and canapes.

Dinner follows with appetizer (traditionally not a salad), the entree (or main dish), one or two side dishes, a salad, a selection of cheeses, and dessert.

This is the time to savour every flavor, enjoy good company and animated discussions... for a couple of hours!!!

For dessert, since there were so many of us, we had to make a few. A raspberry trifle and the traditional Clafouti aux Cerise were among the sweets.

Clafouti aux Cerises

2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter

3 lbs cherries, pitted

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
a pinch of salt
6 eggs
1 cup of light cream
2 cups of milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Butter the baking dish and sprinkle with the 2 tbsp of sugar. Transfer the cherries to the dish.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour and salt.

In a larger bowl, mix the eggs, the light cream and the milk. Add the vanilla and almond extracts.
When well blended, add the dry ingredients to the egg bowl and mix well. Pour over the cherries.
Put some small pieces of butter on the top of the dish and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for about one hour, until golden. serve at room temperature or cold.

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