Sweet red cherries are one of my favorite things about this time of year. I eat them by the handful—they're perfectly bite-sized! When I was smaller, my mom would give me a colander full of freshly washed cherries, droplets of water still clinging to their bright skins, and I'd pop them in my mouth one by one, tossing the pits back into the colander (or, if I was outside, seeing how far I could spit them). I'd eat them for breakfast, or if I got lucky, as a snack. For me, that's still the best way to eat cherries, so it took all my willpower to save them for baking.
But oh, was I pleased with this clafoutis (for those of you wondering, it's cla-foo-tee.) For one thing, it's eaten chilled or at room temperature, which was so welcome during the recent heatwave. For another thing, it's so delicious that I found it the very next best thing to plain sweet cherries. The almond-scented custard base has a gentle flavor that's deepened with a bit of brown sugar and vanilla, and a dusting of raw cane sugar on top gives it all the tiniest crunch. It's irresistable— and I mean that literally, since I couldn't resist eating more than one slice at a time. In fact, Merrick is lucky that he got any at all.
About 2 teaspoons butter
⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 pound (about 2 cups) pitted sweet cherries
3 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon demerara (raw cane) sugar
1. Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9x2 round pie dish and coat the bottom with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Place the cherries in the bottom of the dish.
2. Whisk the eggs, ⅓ cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl with a hand mixer) until light and frothy. On a low speed, mix in the flour, almond extract, vanilla extract, and milk.
3. Pour the custard mix into the dish over the cherries, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top has browned and the custard has set. Sprinkle the cane sugar over the top, and let the clafoutis cool to room temperature before eating.
You can make this clafoutis a day ahead; cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator. Eat chilled or take it out of the refrigerator an hour before serving to let the clafoutis come to room temperature.