Sunday, 21 June 2009
I had a bowl of cherries sitting there just waiting for me to do something with yesterday. I love cherries and it is getting near to the end of the season for them here I think.
Cherry sellers are a very common sight around here in the late springtime, almost summer. You see their signs all over the place, down winding country lanes, on busy town streets . . . the tell tale white board, painted with a sprig of bright red cherries. They sit there with their tables piled, and piled with oodles and oodles of the little red gems, scales waiting for you to stop and buy. They measure them into the scales and pop them into a paper bag. Nothing tastes better than a warm paper bag filled to the brim with warm, sweet cherries. It is a taste I look forward to every year . . .
And when I have had my fill of eating them raw, I want to make something delicious with them . . . perhaps a cherry pie, or strudel, or cake . . .
This year I tried something that I have always wanted to try, but for some reason had never gotten around to. No, it's not so pretty to look at, but what it lacks in appearance, it more than makes up for in flavour. This is absolutely gorgeous served warm, with some cream spooned over top.
Mmmm . . . a custard like batter, baked around sweet cherries. I believe this is one of the finest French puddings around, and I love that I can have it here in my English kitchen, if only for a short while each year. Cherry season seems to come and go overnight . . .
500g fresh cherries, stoned
200ml whole milk
200 ml double cream
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp cinnamon
a pinch salt
1 vanilla pod, split lengthwise with a small sharp knife
50g plain flour
cream for serving
Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Butter a large shallow baking dish well and then sprinkle it with some sugar. Drop the cherries into the dish and set aside while you make the batter.
Put the milk, cream, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and salt into a bowl and whisk together. Using the tip of a knife, scrape the vanilla seeds into the mixture. (drop the spent pod into your sugar canister to give it a lovely vanilla fragrance and flavour) Sift in the flour and whisk well together. Pour this batter over the cherries in the baking dish.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until puffed and golden. (don't be dismayed if it sinks shortly after removing it from the oven, that is quite natural)
Serve spooned out into dessert dishes with lashings of pouring cream on the side. Enjoy!