Cherry clafoutis

Cherry clafoutis

I can't talk about this dish without an anything-but-subtle hint of delight in my voice. It is one of my favourite recipes ever, and comes from my grandmother.

An incredibly smooth batter enfolds pieces of slightly sour cherries. I usually make it in the first days of June when the cherries turn into bright-red jewels waiting to be picked.

It's a bit of a bore to pit them and in fact there is a great debate in France whether the cherries used in a clafoutis should be pitted or not. But I use a small paring knife to pit them for easier eating. You could also use other fruits depending on the season. And if you want to know one of my best-kept secrets, finely sliced apples work like a charm in autumn.

I like to eat clafoutis at any time of the day, but it does make a lovely dessert when served with some sharp yoghurt ice-cream or a dollop of creme fraiche.

Serves 10
plain (all-purpose) flour 200g
caster sugar 120g
salt a pinch
eggs 3
butter 80g, melted
whole milk 400g
cherries 500g, pitted

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6 and generously butter a 30cm tart dish.

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. When the batter is smooth, mix in the melted butter. Then gradually add the milk, mixing well so no lumps form. If you're not fully confident it is lump-free, strain the batter through a sieve.

Scatter the pitted cherries into the prepared dish and gently pour the batter over. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and quite firm. It can be slightly wobbly in the centre but a skewer inserted in the middle of the clafoutis should come out clean.

Allow to cool and serve in thick wedges.