As I had never eaten them before, an earlier trip to the PSU Farmer’s Market this summer inspired the purchase of a small bag of pie cherries. They are much more pert and tart than their juicy, plump Bing or Lambert counterparts, but I was reassured that pie cherries are the only acceptable way to go in a traditional French clafoutis.

A clafoutis is a mild, custardy sweet made with a thick, flan-like batter that bakes away leisurely in the oven. While it’s traditionally made with cherries — and their pits (be sure to remind your guests of their stoney presence) — I’ve seen lots of mouthwatering variations made with plums, blackberries, raspberries, and even chocolate. It is a light accompaniment for breakfast, but we enjoyed it as a snack with tea, or as a post-dinner dessert, too.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a recipe to share with you, because we didn’t use one! I was skeptical about making such a tender dessert without a recipe, but I was reassured by the most confident of cooks that no recipe was needed. We ate this warm, right out of the oven, and later, its cold leftovers, right out of the fridge, with our fingers digging into the cold aluminum packets… and it’s actually better cold. Our clafoutis was magical — the yellow, wet cake faintly sweet and eggy, the tart cherries so addictive when cooked until hot, and an extremely liberal powdering of icing sugar, as they call it in Canada.


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