It’s 43 degrees outside, and of course it’s madness to be baking in an AC-free kitchen the size of a small dining room table. But for now I don’t care – the cherries have arrived, which means urgent Clafoutis-making and an opportunity to wallow in my annual ‘Summer in Provence’ fantasies. At other times of the year, I make plainer versions with apples and pears, but they’re more ‘home on the ranch’ than South of France.
Cooking anything in Delhi at this time of year requires a certain amount of mind over matter, but the sight of a cherry clafoutis straight from the oven with its puffed-up, red-studded batter, and the accompanying gasps of delight from La Famille, make it all worthwhile.
I like my clafoutis straightforward and wholesome – eggs, milk, cream, sugar letting the cherries speak for themselves without the distraction of liqueur. This recipe is a version of Nigel Slater’s and the cherries can be replaced by the same weight of apples, pears, figs.
4 eggs, 75g plain flour (maida), pinch of salt, 75g vanilla sugar*, 225ml cream, 225ml full cream milk, 450g cherries, stoned
Preheat the oven to 200ºC and butter a 25cm tart tin. Wash and stone the cherries – this is a little labour-intensive but if you put on an apron and sit yourself at a table set with a gingham tablecloth, you can really start channelling Provence. Pop the cherries into the tin.
Whisk together all the other ingredients until you have a smooth batter and pour over the cherries. Bake until the batter is puffed up and golden. Sprinkle with caster sugar. Eat warm or cold.
* Vanilla sugar really makes the difference in puddings like this. Keep a jar of caster sugar with a vanilla bean in for just such occasions.