There are two things that scare me. The first is clowns because they’re fucking creepy, especially when one tries to hit on you and then follows you around and you can see the psycho lurking in your peripheral vision everywhere you go. The second thing is over-baking cakes. Once you’ve over-baked a cake, you’re kind of screwed. The worst is when you have no choice but to serve it up and pretend your cake was meant to have the taste and texture of styrofoam. Everyone eats in awkward silence and all you can hear is the chinking of cake forks on plates and you can see the effort of their chewing and forcing themselves to swallow, like….uh…well I guess it’s similar to when you’re forcing yourself to swallow anything. And the reason for silence is because they literally can’t speak due to the lumps of dry cake stuck in their throats. Sometimes not even a thick layer of frosting or ice-cream can save it. The worst, I tell you. Even worse than stalker clowns.
All of this is why I’d rather under-bake a cake than over-bake, especially chocolate ones. If you don’t appreciate a bit of chocolately gooey-ness in a cake then you must be dead inside. Also, this dessert is served in its own baking dish so there is no fear of unmoulding a cake whose uncooked liquid insides will make a desperate gushing break for freedom. A clafoutis is a rustic French dessert of basically plain batter with fruit baked into it, but this version is amped up with real melted chocolate to create a barely-set custard with a crusty top and full of luscious cherries. Are you the warm and saucy type? Or chilled and dense? You can have it either way. Or do what I did and eat half of it warm and then refrigerate the rest for fudgy enjoyment later. Ok so I may have just admitted to eating a whole one on my own. Whatever, it was delish.
This also gave me the pleasure of using my brand spanking new cherry pitter that pushes out pips at bullet speed in a frighteningly satisfying manner. The last time I needed to pit cherries, I used a ridiculous technique I found on YouTube which caused me to be very angry at cherries indeed. That was a horrific afternoon spent covered in cherry juice and cursing cherries and scientists who surely should have found a way to grow seedless cherries by now, I mean if scientists can do it for watermelons and grapes then why are they excluding cherries? Classic scientists, always messing with us.
Cherries and chocolate are a glorious combination and I cite the classic examples of Black Forest Cake and Cherry Ripe bars as evidence of this. Except not those cherry liqueur chocolates which are a hideous abomination and should be flung back in someone’s face if they attempt to give you a box of them for Christmas.
Other than that, everyone likes chocolate and what kind of freak could possibly be anti-cherry so I think it’s a fairly safe bet if you’re not sure about what people like or not. Amongst my own friends, I know that Millie absolutely hates flaked almonds, Jane is not a huge fan of raspberries, Nic isn’t into banana flavoured things, and Georgie can’t stand raisins or sultanas. It’s a good thing they all like chocolate otherwise we might not be such good friends.
Chocolate & Cherry Clafoutis
Adapted from Eric Lanlard’s “Chocolat”
Unsalted butter, for greasing
¼ cup brown sugar
250g dark chocolate, chopped
50g plain flour
50ml pouring cream
2 cups pitted cherries
icing sugar for dusting, optional
Ice cream to serve, optional
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a pie or gratin dish with butter. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water. Take the melted chocolate of the heat and stir in the sugar until combined.
In a separate bowl, beat together the flour, eggs, cream and milk to form a batter. Stir the chocolate mixture in. Pour the batter into the baking dish and scatter over the cherries. Push some of the cherries into the batter so that they sink. Bake for 25 minutes or until set. Eat warm from the oven or leave to cool completely and chill in the fridge before serving. Dust with icing sugar and serve with ice cream if desired.