It was about 7pm last night when I had that familiar pang for dessert. Rarely does a night go by that we don’t have something… Dessert is a major food-group in our house!

Usually, I have my “emergency ice cream” in the freezer, but nothing was on sale yesterday when I did my shopping, and I’ll be damned if I’ll pay $5.69 for the less-than-a-half-gallon containers! That, and it irritates the hell out of me that the dairy manufacturers quietly made their half-gallon ice cream containers 1 3/4 qt containers – and still raised the price! if it ain’t buy one, get one free, I don’t buy. But I digress…..

I had my latest issue of Bon Appetit, and saw a recipe for a Cherry-Almond Clafouti. Into the kitchen I went. For those who may not know, a Clafouti is a rustic French dessert somewhere between a pancake and a custard. It’s been a while since I made one, and this one seemed to be just what the dessert doctor ordered! Here’s the Bon Appetit Recipe – mine will follow!

Cherry-Almond Clafouti

  • 1/2 cup whole almonds (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tbsp plus 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 oz dark sweet cherries, pitted, halved (about 2 cups)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar

Blend almonds in processor until ground but not pasty. Transfer to small saucepan, add milk and bring to simmer. Remove from heat; let steep 30 minutes. Pour through fine strainer, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids in strainer.

Preheat oven to 375F. Butter 10 inch diameter glass pie plate, sprinkle with 1 tbsp sugar. Scatter cherries evenly over bottom of dish.

Using electric mixer, beat eggs, almond extract, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in medium bowl until well blended. Add strained almond milk and beat to blend. Sift flour into egg mixture and beat until smooth. Pour mixture over cherries. Bake until set and knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool completely.

I had some ground hazelnut meal in the freezer, so this I substituted for the almonds – why dirty the processor, right?!? And I didn’t have any cherries, but I had an apple and a pear. And I didn’t have any whole milk, but I had skim milk and heavy cream. Oh, and I didn’t have any all-purpose flour, but I had King Arthur White Whole Wheat and what the heck, not having the ‘called-for’ ingredients has never stopped me before!

The milk is simmering, the pie plate buttered and sugared, I open the egg carton and – only 2 eggs! I could run next door and borrow one – we borrow back-and-forth with our neighbors all the time – or I could make a quick run down to Wawa. I chose Wawa. (I’m listening to a great book on CD in the truck “The Kite Runner” and I’m always willing to take a short drive to hear a bit more…) Anyway…..

Back home with eggs in hand, I make my substitutions. Oh, and since I had used hazelnuts, I didn’t want to add the almond extract, so I used vanilla…

Mixed it all, into the oven, and about 40 minutes later, it came out of the oven! We did let it cool a bit, and then dived into a heavenly light custardy filling briming with sweet pears and tart apples.

While cherries may be the traditional fruit, absolutely anything will work! I think my next one will be fresh peaches – and I have that peach extract from Fante’s…..