I am showing you all of my cards today. A secret of mine is whenever I am having guests over and haven’t given dessert much thought, I fall back on my old standby of dark chocolate and cherries. I create a dessert – a tart, a pudding, a trifle, whatever – where I can work in those flavors, often with heavy doses of cream. I think it started from childhood, where black forest was my birthday cake of choice (yes…every year). It’s such a beautiful combination and, I think, a real crowd pleaser.
I have already professed my love for all things amarena cherry, so when trying to think of delicious ways to cook with them, I decided to (1) keep it simple and (2) not resist the urge to combine them with dark chocolate. On the first point, I went with a clafouti because cherries in clafoutis are a time-honored, classic tradition. Of course, I then had to go and grate dark chocolate all over them.
Clafoutis should be part of your culinary arsenal. The sweetened, crepe-like batter takes literally minutes to make in your blender, and you can use most fruits you like – cherries, blueberries, strawberries, plums. The fruit is spread in a baking dish or, like here, in individual ramekins, batter is poured in, into the oven and, within the hour, you have a beautiful, custardy, fruity dessert. Here, I drain Amarena cherries (in syrup) in lieu of fresh fruit, since it’s not quite the season yet. I also reduced the sugar amount because of that, so bump it up if you are using fresh fruit. I love the shaved dark chocolate as well – just gives it a nice finish. Enjoy!
Yields 6 6-ounce ramekins
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsps almond extract
3 tbsps light brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
¼ cup all purpose flour, sifted
butter and white sugar for greasing/dusting ramekins
1 cup Amarena cherries, drained of syrup
dark chocolate for grating
confectioner’s sugar, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 375° F.
In a blender, blend together eggs, heavy cream, extracts, sugar and salt. Add flour and blend for 10 seconds. Scrape down the sides and blend for another 10 to 15 seconds until flour is incorporated and there are no lumps. Rest batter in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Grease the ramekins and lightly dust with sugar, shaking out any excess, and place on a large baking sheet. Spread the cherries evenly between the ramekins. Pour batter evenly into the six ramekins. Using a microplane or other grater, grate dark chocolate (to your desired level) over each.
Transfer baking sheet into the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Remove and let cool slightly before serving. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.