After it landed in my mailbox on Friday, I was quickly won over by the vibrant colors and seasonal flavors of Plum Gorgeous, Recipes and Memories from the Orchard (Andrews McMeel, mid-July 2011) by Romney Steele.
She offers 60 dishes from unusual salads like kumquats and toasted couscous with halloumi, head-on dishes such as grilled lime prawns with aioli wet my appetite.
The icing on the cake for me was cherry clafoutis. In the summer when i see cherries, i think clafoutis.
Here's a sneak preview of Plum Gorgeous with Cherry Clafoutis Recipe by Romney Steele.
Sweet black cherries baked in custard is a specialty of the Limousin region of France; it’s a popular no-fuss dessert served warm or cold, dusted with a little sugar. Traditionally the cherries are left whole, so that the pits imbue a little of their almond flavor. This is how I’ve always done it too, though you can surely pit them (and my daughter thinks I should); in fact most people do. Try making the clafoutis with other stone fruit like plums and peaches or, in the fall, fresh figs or dried prunes soaked first in brandy for a twist.
Serves 6 to 8
4 cups sweet cherries
1⁄2 cup turbinado or Demerara sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons kirsch
1 cup whole milk
2⁄3 cup crème fraîche
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons flour
1⁄3 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Confectioners’ sugar (optional)
Wash and stem the cherries and pit if you prefer; pat dry. In a bowl, toss the cherries with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the kirsch, more or less as you like to taste. Set aside at room temperature for at least 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Generously butter a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or earthenware dish. Scatter the cherries
in the bottom of the dish.
Combine the remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, the eggs, milk, crème fraîche, vanilla, flour, and salt in a blender. Blend to combine thoroughly; strain if necessary to remove any lumps of flour, then whisk back in by hand.
Pour the custard over the cherries. Bake the clafoutis for 35 to 40 minutes, until puffy and golden and just set in the middle. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you like, before serving.
You might know Romney Steele for her 2009 cookbook My Nepenthe named after her family's restaurant in Big Sur.
(* Cherry clafoutis recipe from 'Plum Gorgeous, Recipes and Memories from the Orchard' by Romney Steele, reproduced courtesy of Andrews McMeel Publishing, all rights reserved, Photo by Sara Remington)