Provençal cherry bake

Provencal cherry bake


Near the end of April, cherry trees in Provence explode with white blossoms. In May and June dark cherries, cerises noires, are in season. A single cherry tree may produce about 50 kg fruit. Maybe this is the reason why cake recipes in the South of France contain much more fruit and much less flour than Northern European cake recipes.

The following easy recipe is a bake, clafoutis, and not a serious cake recipe. The clafoutis comes from the Limousin region and was traditionally made with dark cherries. The clafoutis can also be made with other seasonal fruit.

I have somewhat modified the original recipe from an old Provencal cookbook by baking it in small individual ramekins and by replacing Beaumes-de-Venise sweet fortified wine by orange juice. I have also replaced the traditional sugar decoration with a few fresh cherries.

For four ramekins

About 400 g dark cherries
2 eggs
4,5 tbsp. brown sugar, cassonade
2,5 tbsp. flour
A pinch of grated nutmeg, muscade
125 ml milk
4 tbsp. orange juice
Butter

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Butter four ramekins.

Wash and dry the cherries. Save 16 cherries for decoration and remove the stones and stalks from the rest. Divide the pitted cherries in the ramekins.

In a bowl whisk the eggs, sugar and nutmeg. Then add the flour in small amounts and mix well. Add the milk and orange juice and mix again. Divide the batter in the ramekins.

Bake in the oven for 20- 25 minutes until the surface is nicely coloured, and a wooden pick inserted comes out dry.

Serve the ramekins at room temperature or cold. Just before serving decorate each ramekin with four fresh cherries.

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