Friday, June 11, 2010

Pits and Pepper

I can't seem to get enough of clafouti this cherry season. It's so darn easy to make and it tastes so good - what's not to like? Plus, it uses up tired fruit that we might not otherwise eat and I do hate to waste food!

This time, however, I wanted to try a couple of tweaks to the basic recipe that I have always used, the one in Julia Child's masterpiece. She recommends using pitted cherries but I have heard from a couple of reliable sources that cherries with pits left in are more traditional and might impart even more flavor.

The other riff I wanted to try was adding black pepper to the batter. This idea popped fully formed into my head the other day and I've been dying to try it. First, I dipped a cherry into a little freshly-ground pepper to test out this wacky idea - and loved the combination! There's something about pepper and cherries that really sings together - like a red wine that combines those notes. So, I added the pepper to the batter, reduced the vanilla and skimped on the sugar - and it was a really nice twist, subtle but a definite improvement. In fact, I liked it so much that I have modified that page of my copy of Ms. Child's book to reflect the changes.

Here's the new recipe:

Pepper and Pits Clafouti

1-1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/6 cup sugar
3 cups cherries, washed and stems removed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place ingredients, except the 1/6 cup of sugar and the cherries, into a blender, wet ingredients first, followed by dry ingredients. Whirl at high speed for about 1 minute. Scrape down the side if needed to incorporate all ingredients smoothly.

Pour 1/4" of the batter into a lightly buttered pie plate or shallow ovenproof dish and set over a medium burner for a few minutes, just to set the bottom. Remove from heat and add the cherries. Sprinkle the remaining 1/6 cup sugar evenly over the cherries. Gently pour in the rest of the batter. If the pepper has sunk to the bottom, give some care to pouring the last bit evenly to spread the pepper around.

Set into the preheated oven and bake for about an hour. The clafouti will puff up and it is done when a sharp knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Serve hot or warm. Serves 6-8 people.

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Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Here comes the New Zoomie!
Very nice.

Friday, June 11, 2010  
Blogger namastenancy said...

I think "Cooking with Zoomie" has a certain ring, don't you?

Friday, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, partly thanks to you, who always advocates less sugar and less vanilla! :-)

Nancy, it's fun to invent, every now and then.

Saturday, June 12, 2010  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

We're having Toad in the Hole today to celebrate the World Cup (today is US/England). We're making it with hot dogs instead of sausage, so it'll be a real cross-cultural mess.

(Toad in the Hole is Yorkshire Pudding baked with sausage in it.)

Saturday, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Good idea! I think I'll grill tonight - it's too hot for anything else! I could make it a mixed grill - that's very British, too.

Saturday, June 12, 2010  
Blogger katiez said...

My neighbor just gave me a big sack of cherries. What oh what can I do with them all!?!?!
Pepper, eh.....

Sunday, June 13, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

KatieZ, you couldn't go wrong with clafouti but if you have enough, some kind of wine-and-cherries-and-pepper sauce to go with pork is something I've been dreaming about.

Sunday, June 13, 2010  

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