For weeks I’ve been wondering if the summer-time vibe – that breezy, buoyant feeling that arises when the days are long and the flowers are blooming and there’s nothing all that important to do – is passing me by this year. For a lot of reasons, I’ve had trouble getting to that place. I anticipated it all winter and I told myself that life would be easier when the weather turned for the better, but then the spring brought rain and clouds and general heartache and it seemed impossible to look forward to even the best of summer days ahead.
Good thing the coveted warm season is three months long. A few days after life here was truly turned inside-out – more on that someday down the road – I am delighted to say that summer has arrived for our household, in the form of lazy lunches, evening strolls and four feet sun-tanned by flip-flop straps. Yes, things are lighter around here and I can’t tell you how much we’ve needed that.
One of the best things about this past week was the fact that I got to lunch with my husband twice in three days. There is a semi-slow movement of food trucks in our city and we finally tracked down the taco truck on Tuesday. Two days later, we meandered through the week-day farmer’s market, picking up some more lettuce for the patio planter, a bag of kettle corn and – my oh my – a bag of cherries, a mix of Bing and Rainier goodness that screams, “Summer starts now!” I could hardly stand to let them be. (So I snuck a few while thinking about what to do with them.)
Somehow I found my way to Williams-Sonoma’s recipe for cherry clafoutis. Um, what? Yeah, clafoutis, as in kla-foo-TEE. It’s a French dish that combines cherries, preferably with pits intact, and a pancake-like batter of eggs, sugar, flour and heavy cream. The cherries are placed in the bottom of a baking pan, covered by the batter, then baked for half an hour or so. Some recipes call for sprinkling sugar over the cake; others suggest ice cream or whipped cream. I went with confectioners’ sugar and whipped cream. (Yes, that’s a lot of sugar.)
I followed the Williams-Sonoma recipe closely, simply because this dish is new to me. I’d read that pitting the cherries is the most tedious part of this recipe and it’s true. I sliced the cherries in half and dug out the middle with my fingers. A cherry pitter gadget would have made a huge difference.
Sure, my thumb is fuschia-stained, but this little dish, I’m sure, will become a staple in my house and a good use for all of that summertime fruit I’m bound to buy at the farmer’s market.
Now, if you’ll excuse me for a few days, I’m going back to my summer, fleeting as it is, feeling light and lucent and loved.
Sweet Cherry Clafoutis
(adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen)
Next post: baked zucchini chips and garden tomato salsa