Eat more clafoutis!
B and I have been taking art classes with a lovely and very talented gentleman since early spring. It's been a fantastic treat to spend such a good amount of time one-on-two with a tutor with such experience. I haven't taken art classes since high school but I enjoyed them then as much as I do now.
The British summer seems well suited for prolonged periods of concentration and creativity. Nothing gets too hot or too cold and in summers like the current one, there is little rain.
The other wonderful thing about our art classes is that they take place in a family home, full of art and memories and the most intriguing trinkets. We sit, we talk, we learn and on most occasions most we have a leisurely lunch of salads and antipasti, bread and hummus or some such dip. It's time out.
I always like to contribute something to the repast and cakes or pudding of some sort seem to go down very well. As it's summer and you can get bowls of ready-ripe fruit for a quid most street corner stalls I could help but grab a bowl of deep red, juicy cherries from Berwick Street in Soho. And all this talk of Petersham Nurseries had me poking around in Skye Gyngell's second book My Favourite Ingredients for a cherrie clafoutis recipe I had spied.
OK, so I struggle to pronounce the thing correctly but it's still delicious and can be made with the summer fruit of your choosing. I guess it's kind of a big fruit pancake.
60g/21/2oz unsalted butter 500g/16oz of sweet cherries 100g/31/2oz caster sugar 1tsp of kirsch The grated zest of 1 lemon 2 medium eggs, separated 3tbsp plain flour 1tsp vanilla extract 120ml/4fl oz double cream 1tbsp ground almonds A little icing sugar for dusting
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Grease and flour a 23cm (9in) baking dish. Melt the butter in a pan over a gentle heat and, when the butter is foaming (but not coloured), add the first 100g (31/2oz) of sugar, lemon zest and kirsch. Cook over a low heat for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. When finished, the cherries should be tender when prodded with a fork.
Beat the egg yolks and sugar together (ideally in an electric mixer) until light and airy. Fold in the flour and vanilla extract and the ground almonds. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form soft peaks. Fold the whites gently into the batter until just blended.
Pour the cherries into the tin. Pour over the batter and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes or until the batter is puffed and browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
To serve, dust with icing sugar and put on a plate with a thick dollop of unpasteurised cream.