Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cherry Clafouti

In the freshly rinsed bowl of your previously dusty KitchenAid, whip until frothy:

4 eggs
3/4 C sugar

If you have only three eggs in the basket, send your eldest daughter, Noelani, 10, down to the chickenhouse to check for more. When she returns saying there aren't any, sigh and throw your hands up. The damn chickens are laying in the blackberry brambles again. But don't discard the idea of making the clafouti. Your friend Kelly, who's visiting for the afternoon, volunteers to go double check; she returns with one egg. Noelani blushes.

While the eggs and sugar are beating, wash out the cast-iron skillet which was used for hash browns this morning, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the eggs are frothy, add:

1 C milk
1 T Cognac or rum
2 tsp vanilla

If you are out of vanilla, dump in plenty of extra rum for good measure. Gosling's spiced rum is nice. Blend, then add:

3/4 C flour
pinch of salt

Do not let your three-year-old son add the salt. His idea of a pinch involves all five fingers and the palm. Also, even though he may have dragged the step stool in from the bathroom to help you, do not allow him to work the controls of the KitchenAid. This recipe does not intend for the flour to be airborne.

Mix until the flour is just incorporated. Do not overmix or the clafouti will be tough. As it turns out, the kids will not eat it even if it's not tough, and certainly the chickens won't mind toughness when you give them the kids' leftover helpings, but you'll enjoy it more if it's tender.

Into the cast-iron skillet, dump:

1 pound cherries, stems removed but not pitted

If, ever since you carefully weighed the cherries on your dad's old-fashioned balance scale and found you had just enough, your children and houseguest have been nibbling on the cherries, to the effect that you no longer have just enough, add a couple handfuls of blueberries to make up for it. Or just bake a skimpy clafouti, who cares?

Pour the batter over the cherries and put the clafouti in the oven. Set the timer for 10 minutes. Forcibly separate your son from the controls of the KitchenAid. Make some attempt to clean up from the experience--well, at least put the milk away. Leave the Gosling's out, you may need it later.

When the timer rings, turn the oven temperature down to 350 and set the timer again for 30 minutes. Go on with the making of dinner and the trying to keep the three-year-old and one-year-old away from sharp implements; simultaneously, try to keep up an adult conversation with Kelly and observe whether Noelani is doing her chores.

Serve dinner, which takes only a fraction of the time to eat that it did to make. While cleaning up, answer the phone; it's your sister. Excuse yourself to Kelly and wander outside to chat for a moment. Ask about your sister's boyfriend and compare notes about your mom.

Bow out of the conversation with a promise to call again soon when you notice the three-year-old trying to pick up a kitten by its tail. Take him back inside the house to distract him from animal abuse; immediately notice the strong and lovely scent of baking. Your son does too. "Mom, is the cake done?"

Tell him, "When the timer rings, we'll check it." Look up quickly at Kelly's sharp inhalation of breath. "The timer! Oh shit! I turned it off quite awhile ago!"

Spring to the oven and snatch out the clafouti. It's a dark golden brown on top, with the dark red cherries showing through like polka-dots. Perfect. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

1 comment:

  1. I swear to God that the timer going off didn't make me think that anything was cooking. Why I will never know. Maybe it was the fact that I had just broken up a fight, stepped on a kitten that was running away from a three-year-old and my 7-month-old had just spit spit up on me... again.

    What a wonderful day!!