in praise of cherries

for 12 portions

Clafoutis can be made with or without a pastry case but we do love it with a pastry case.

1 x Olive’s sweet pastry click here
1400g firm dark cherries (purchase weight maybe a few extra to eat…hmmm!), pitted and stones reserved
225g caster sugar roughly divided into 2 + 1 tablespoon
2 scraped vanilla beans
600g full cream milk
4 x 61–68g eggs, warmed in hot water
250g plain flour

30g pure icing sugar or powdered caster sugar

for the pastry
Line a 25 cm deep drop bottom flan tin with sweet pastry and cover the pastry with aluminum foil, shiny side against the pastry and then refrigerate until ready to cook — at least 30 minutes.

for the clafoutis
Put half of the sugar onto the cherries, stir over and allow to stand. If it is a very hot day put them in the fridge. Tie the cherry stones up in a double layer of muslin and smash them with a mallet. Either by microwave of on the stove top bring the milk, cherry stones and vanilla pods to the boil, turn the heat down to the lowest point simmer for two minutes then turn off the heat and allow it to stand until it is luke warm.

the best

Remove the vanilla beans and squeeze out as much of the liquid from the stones as possible, whisk well and strain making sure you get all of the vanilla seeds. Weigh out 400g of the infused milk and make a batter with the remaining sugar, eggs, milk and flour and whisk until it is smooth and free of lumps, then pass it through a sieve to make sure there really aren’t any flour lumps. Refrigerate the batter for at least one hour, overnight is even better.

pre heat oven to 160°C
Put the tart case onto a baking sheet and put it in the oven. Set a timer for 25 minutes then remove the tart case from the oven and stand it on a rack. Without delay, very carefully remove the foil and discard it (or save it to use again). Scrape the cherries and their juice into the prepared tart case, then give the batter a good whisk and pour it out the cherries and put it back into the oven and set a timer for 30 minutes.


When the timer goes give the clafoutis a gentle shake to assess how much it is cooked and turn it in the oven if is cooking on one side more than the other. Set a timer for another 15 minutes and check again.  An hour should do it, but it depends on how cold the fruit and batter is.

Allow to stand for at least 20 minutes before cutting and sieve about 30g of pure icing sugar or powdered caster over the top and torch.  Best served just warm or at room temperature.

serve with
Vanilla ice cream and cherry sauce or make vanilla and cherry ripple ice cream by churning the cherry sauceand swirling it through the churned vanilla ice cream.

cherry pitter they are about $100 AUD but in the 32 years of serious cooking and literally hundreds of kilos of cherries we are only on our second machine and it is still going strong. Available from Ecotel in Australia and a Google search for Westmark cherry pitter brings up plenty of options on line.


a recipe that hasn't changed in 40 years

ann Oliver’s
sweet pastry

85g icing sugar
260g strong flour + extra for rolling
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped seeds only
160g  unsalted  butter – cold and cut into small pieces
1 cold extra large egg yolk

Put the icing sugar, flour and vanilla into a food processor [we do not recommend Thermomix for making pastry]. Mix together, and, without turning off the motor feed the butter down the feed tube.  When the butter has mixed in add the egg yolk and work just until the pastry just comes together in a ball.

Knead the pastry on a lightly floured surface, flatten into a disk, cover with plastic and rest in a cool place for 30 minutes.

Always butter your form before lining with pastry.

For blind baking instructions click here

cook’s note
We keep a couple of lined tart cases in the freezer so very handy when unexpected guests turn up.