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Swiss Cherry Clafoutis: A Classic Delight

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Cherry clafoutis is a traditional French dessert with a delightful twist, often celebrated in Swiss cuisine for its simplicity and elegance. This baked custard-like dessert, featuring juicy cherries nestled in a rich, flan-like batter, is a treat for any occasion. In this article, we will delve into the history and cultural significance of cherry clafoutis in Switzerland, explore the key ingredients that make it special, and provide a detailed step-by-step recipe for creating this delectable dessert at home.

Cultural Significance

Cherry clafoutis, originally from the Limousin region of France, has found a special place in Swiss culinary traditions. Switzerland, with its picturesque landscapes and fertile valleys, is home to an abundance of cherries, particularly in the regions of Zug and Basel. The Swiss version of clafoutis often incorporates these locally grown cherries, showcasing the country’s commitment to using fresh, seasonal ingredients. This dessert is a staple at family gatherings, festive celebrations, and local patisseries, embodying the Swiss love for simple yet delicious home-baked goods.

Key Ingredients for Swiss Cherry Clafoutis

To make a traditional Swiss cherry clafoutis, gather the following ingredients:

For the Batter:

  • Fresh Cherries: 1 pound (450g), pitted
  • All-Purpose Flour: 1/2 cup (60g)
  • Granulated Sugar: 1/2 cup (100g)
  • Salt: 1/4 teaspoon
  • Eggs: 3 large
  • Whole Milk: 1 cup (240ml)
  • Heavy Cream: 1/2 cup (120ml)
  • Vanilla Extract: 1 teaspoon
  • Almond Extract: 1/4 teaspoon (optional, enhances cherry flavor)
  • Butter: For greasing the baking dish

For Dusting:

  • Powdered Sugar: For dusting

Recipe for Swiss Cherry Clafoutis

Step 1: Prepare the Cherries

  1. Pit the Cherries: Wash and pit the cherries. If you prefer a more traditional approach, you can leave the pits in, which is believed to enhance the flavor. However, for ease of eating, pitting the cherries is recommended.
  2. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).

Step 2: Prepare the Batter

  1. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, granulated sugar, and salt.
  2. Whisk Wet Ingredients: In a separate large bowl, whisk the eggs until they are well beaten. Gradually add the milk, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract (if using), whisking continuously until well combined.
  3. Combine Ingredients: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, whisking until the batter is smooth and free of lumps.

Step 3: Assemble the Clafoutis

  1. Grease the Dish: Generously butter a 9-inch (23cm) baking dish or a cast-iron skillet.
  2. Arrange the Cherries: Spread the pitted cherries evenly over the bottom of the prepared dish.
  3. Pour the Batter: Pour the batter over the cherries, ensuring they are evenly covered.

Step 4: Bake the Clafoutis

  1. Bake: Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the clafoutis is puffed and golden brown around the edges. The center should be set but still slightly jiggly.
  2. Cool: Remove the clafoutis from the oven and let it cool slightly. It will deflate a bit as it cools, which is normal.

Step 5: Serve

  1. Dust with Powdered Sugar: Once the clafoutis has cooled to a warm temperature, dust it generously with powdered sugar.
  2. Serve Warm: Serve the clafoutis warm, either on its own or with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Tips for Perfect Swiss Cherry Clafoutis

  • Use Fresh, Ripe Cherries: The quality of the cherries greatly impacts the final dish. Fresh, ripe cherries provide the best flavor and texture.
  • Avoid Overmixing: When combining the wet and dry ingredients, mix just until smooth. Overmixing can result in a tough texture.
  • Serve Warm: Cherry clafoutis is best enjoyed warm, allowing the flavors to meld beautifully.
  • Add a Splash of Kirsch: For an authentic Swiss touch, add a tablespoon of Kirsch (cherry brandy) to the batter. This enhances the cherry flavor and adds a subtle depth.

Serving Suggestions

  • Brunch Delight: Serve Swiss cherry clafoutis as part of a brunch spread alongside fresh fruit, pastries, and coffee.
  • Afternoon Treat: Enjoy a slice with a cup of tea or coffee for a delightful afternoon pick-me-up.
  • Elegant Dessert: Present the clafoutis at dinner parties, garnished with fresh cherries and a sprig of mint for an elegant touch.

Conclusion

Swiss cherry clafoutis is a beautiful testament to the simplicity and elegance of Swiss home baking. With its golden, custardy batter enveloping sweet, juicy cherries, this dessert is a true crowd-pleaser. By following this recipe, you can bring a taste of Swiss tradition to your table, impressing your family and friends with a dish that is both comforting and sophisticated. Whether served as a brunch highlight, an afternoon treat, or a dinner party dessert, Swiss cherry clafoutis is sure to become a favorite in your culinary repertoire. Enjoy the process of making and sharing this delightful dish, and savor the rich flavors of Switzerland in every bite.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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