Thursday, 16 September 2010

C is for... Chocolate and cherry clafoutis


Chocolate and cherry clafoutis

Clafoutis is a traditional Southern French pudding, which is basically a batter poured over fruit in a shallow dish and baked in the oven. I decided that the addition of chocolate and kirsch would make an indulgent change and went for individual dishes rather than the traditional single large, shallow flan/pie dish. I tried to find individual (preferably fluted) flan dished for C night, but I left it quite late in the day and the only things I could find were either too big or too small. I plumped for custard pots, as I already have a plentiful stock of them at home. If you have individual shallow dishes, then use them. As they were, the custard pots were fine, although they did take a little longer to cook because of their depth and there wasn't quite enough room for as many succulent, juicy cherries as I'd have liked. Clafoutis proved an excellent choice after all the previous courses, as although it's an indulgent chocolate pudding, it's not so rich that you feel like you need to be carried off your dining chair in a stretcher afterwards. 

You can serve clafoutis straight from the oven, but it's at its best if you leave it to cool for ten minutes or so before serving with a dusting of icing sugar and a jug of cream.

Enough for 8 individual dishes

1 lb of ripe British cherries, stoned
3 large eggs
6.5 fl. oz/ 200 ml whole milk
2 tbsp kirsch (otional)
1 heaped tbsp ground almonds
1 heaped tbsp cornflour
3 heaped tbsp plain flour
4 oz/ 100 g good quality dark chocolate
4 oz/ 100 g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
4 heaped tbsp caster sugar
Icing sugar for dusting

Preheat your oven to 180 C (160 C Fan)

Grease you clafoutis dish/es and line each with a generous serving of cherries. If using individual dishes, place all of them on a baking tray for ease. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water. In the meantime, beat 2 eggs with 3 tbsp of the sugar until pale and fluffy, whisk in the milk and kirsch and sift over 1 tbsp of plain flour and mix together. In a separate bowl, beat the remaining egg with the rest of the sugar. Whisk in the cornflour, ground almonds and remaining flour and then stir in the melted chocolate and butter. Fold the milk batter into the chocolate batter. Pour the mixture over the top of the cherries and bake for 20 - 25 mins (or 35 - 40 minutes for one large dish). Once cooked, take out of the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes before sifting over a little icing sugar and serving with fresh, single cream.

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