Flathead Cherry Clafouti

By Beacon Staff

One of the most prized and sought after of our locally grown products are Flathead cherries. The beautiful blossoms are just starting to form on the trees in the orchards lining the east shore of Flathead Lake and very soon we will see an abundance of small kiosks perched on the edge of the roadways selling these sweet little gems.

Known for their sweetness and size, Flathead cherries are perfect for pies, ice creams, syrups and numerous other amazing concoctions. One of my favorite ways to use them is in Clafouti. A traditional French dessert, Clafouti is a perfect way to finish off a summer meal, especially when topped with fresh vanilla ice cream.

Before you get started you will need to gather the following ingredients together:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 T. all purpose flour
2 large eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. orange zest
1/4 t. almond extract
1/4 t. salt
1 cup Flathead cherries, pitted and halved

First, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Next, add all ingredients except for the cherries, to a blender or food processor. Blend until all ingredients are combined, place mixture in fridge to rest. I like to make my batter the day before and let it sit overnight, re-blending when I am ready to cook the Clafouti.

You can use a gratin dish for a more traditional pudding or a muffin pan for a more refined modern look. Generously butter the sides of your dish and divide the cherries evenly across the bottom. For the larger version, you may now pour your batter mixture over the top of the cherries. For the muffin size, ladle 2 ounces of the batter over the cherries in the muffin molds. Place your dish or muffin pan on a sheet tray in the center of your oven and bake until golden and almost firm. This should take about 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool slightly. For the gratin, dot the top of the Clafouti with butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place under your broiler long enough to caramelize the sugar. Remove and top with ice cream. The muffin style Clafouti can be served individually. Remove them from the muffin pan and place on plates. Dot with butter and sprinkle with sugar … under the broiler, add ice cream and serve. Enjoy!

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