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Cherry clafouti

Clafoutis_043 As cherry season draws to a close, it's been easier to take the blissful fruit for granted than I'd care to admit.  A month ago, we were popping the Bings and Rainiers and Tartarians into our mouths as soon as we bought them from the market stalls, but lately they've even made it into the refrigerator.  And the other day I found a bowlful, bright as Cezanne's still life, waiting patiently for someone to remember them.  So I made a quick clafouti, the rustic Limousin dessert traditionally filled with unpitted cherries.  For a simple, old-fashioned pan dessert, good clafouti recipes are harder to find than you'd think, often too eggy or tough.  My favorite is from Daniel Boulud's latest cookbook, "Braise."  He adds some almond flour and grated lemon zest to cream, eggs, milk, sugar and flour for his batter, to which he adds braised apricots instead of cherries.  (You can also make clafouti with berries, plums, sauteed pears or apples.) Just drop the unpitted cherries into a cast-iron pan, pour the custard mixture on top and bake for about 20 minutes for an incredibly easy end to a meal -- and the leftovers make a fantastic breakfast.  Sift some powdered sugar on top, or add a quenelle of whipped cream or a spoonful of cherry preserves.  You'll never take cherries for granted again.

-- Amy Scattergood

Photos by Amy Scattergood

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