Having Fun With Cherries! Cherry Clafoutis, Cherry Pistachio Crumble Cakes & A Grilled Salmon, Fennel, Radish & Cherries Salad
Cherries… A love story. Cherries are still, along with other stone fruits, one of those once-a-year-come-and-get-it-now foods. In a world where so many foods are available year round, which in by no means give them the attributes of tasty and/or affordable by way, that’s something I am madly in love with. I live for seasonal eating. It’s better on all counts, starting with the intoxicating flavors and scents of recently picked fruits and vegetables.
I love the anticipation building up in March waiting for the first weekend we’ll go strawberry picking. Waiting for the end of May to bite into the first local peach, juice going down my elbow, its soft skin brushing my cheeks with every bite. Living with blue fingers and tongue all throughout the Summer from blackberry and blueberry picking..and eating…and juicing. With October, I am ready for the local apple crops to flood the farmers maker stalls.
Comes cherry season and it’s far more than just love of seasonal food that is awaken in me. It’s a whole part of my history. My childhood. My life in France. Nostalgia is definitely a driving force in who I am as a person and certain foods fall right in that category. Not only do they remind me of wonderful times spent back home but they also define my cooking and baking in the present moment.
Growing up in Apt, in Provence, we were lucky to have a few cherry trees in the backyard. We had cherry picking parties where friends were invited to lounge under the cherry trees after an afternoon of filling up their baskets. When we moved near Aix En Provence, our yard was a food lover’s dream come true. Figs, strawberries, raspberries, red currants, apricots and more cherries.
The best moments of my childhood were spent in between rosemary bush, a patch of lavender and perched high on a cherry tree. You can safely guess that there is not one family recipe that does not come with a tug at my heart.
I get the same pinch, tug or pull every time I grabbed the first cherries of the season and make clafoutis. It’s like a tradition. Cherries. Clafoutis. Repeat. Except there is rarely enough left for anything else. One for the clafoutis. One for me. Repeat again. This time, granted after overloading at the market, I had enough for clafoutis, a cake or two and a salad.
One thing I am not used to, even after 14 years here, is the heat. That suffocating heat that grabs your throat and chest. I have learned that the secret to Summer living here resides in three habits: do things at night, do them early in the morning and lastly, do not stop moving. Stopping in that heat will knock the wind from under your sails. So what do we do? We do a bit of all three. We start the work day earlier than normal, do not stop until dinner time and I rarely turn the oven on before 10 or 11pm.
I am growing slowly enamored with those evening rituals. I let my mind wander and the nostalgia comes wafting in by waves. Small splashes at first with each lemon zested and egg broken and whisked. Huge floods take over once I set out baked goods to cool and the smells vanilla and sugar whipped up with fruits or chocolate take over every nook and crannies of the house.
When it comes to lunch or dinners, we are grilling everyday and eating lots of fresh salads loaded with grains and vegetables. One salad I have completely fallen in love with came as an accident. Sort of. I was already inspired to make a version of this fennel, radish, cherry salad from Beatrice at La Tartine Gourmande intrigued by this combination of the three ingredients.
Some leftover grilled salmon one day prompted me to add this to the fennel, radish and cherry combination. A little lemon juice, olive oil and oregano and we were in for the best salad we’ve had in a long time. Bill asked for seconds. That’s rare at lunchtime. He asked for leftovers the day after. We were about to fight over it when I said "there’s cherry cake for dessert!".
But not just cherry cake…. Warm and light vanilla cake loaded with cherries and a pistachio crumble topping. We took advantage of an impeding storm to head out to the yard and enjoy a few short minutes of a cool breeze passing by. Under the pecan tree this time. Hope you enjoy the cherry recipes after the jump! Someone needs to hold me back…I am slightly nervous that there is no clafoutis for dessert tonight! Ahaha! Have a great week everyone!
It’s like Summer does not officially start unless there is a clafoutis involved. The recipe originated with my grandmother and years after her passing, it’s my way to pay homage to her ways around the kitchen. And was she a fine cook. And a loving one too. There was never one of anything. Probably why she had six children too. Ah!
Serves 6 to 8
1 to 1 1/2 cups cherries, pitted
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup gluten free flour of your choice(I used red rice flour but you can use all purpose)
powdered sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle. Place all the cherries in a 8-inch round pie tin slightly coated with some melted butter (or cooking spray if you wish).
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and honey until well combined. Add the milk, cream and flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly pour over the cherries, trying not to disturb them too much so to speak. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
Serve at room temperature with some powdered sugar dusted on top if desired.
Cherry Cakes With Pistachio Crumble Topping:
Makes one 10-inch cake or four 4-inch ones.
For the crumble topping:
5 tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup millet flour (or all purpose)
1/3 cup pistachios, dry roasted, unsalted, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
For the cake(s):
1 cup millet flour
1 cup superfine rice flour
1 cup sorghum flour
(or use 2 cups all purpose flour instead of the three flours listed above)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup sugar
zest of one lemon
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk (I sometimes used coconut milk)
1 1/2 cups cherries, pitted and halved
For the crumble:
Put all the ingredients, minus the nuts in a food processor and pulse until it forms coarse crumbs. Put into a bowl, sit in the nuts , cover and refrigerate while you prepare the cake. You can do this by hand, mixing in all the ingredients together, just make sure the butter is super cold.
Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
For the cake(s):
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda. Stir and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar together with the lemon zest until creamy looking. Add the eggs, one at time. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure it is all combined. Reduce the speed and add the the flour mixture and milk alternately, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Stop the machine and with a spatula gently stir in the cherries.
Pour the mixture into your preferred baking pan, coated with cooking spray. Spread the top with the crumb topping.
Bake for about 45 minutes for one single 8 or 9-inch cake and about 30-35 for smaller ones.
Grilled Salmon, fennel, radish and cherry salad:
This is more of a method/ingredient list than a precise recipes since quantities change with what I have on hand and according to our tastebuds that day. Feel free to experiment with little of a lot of each ingredient!
Makes enough for 4 people:
1 to 2 cups arugula
1 small fennel bulb, fronds removed and thinly sliced
6 radishes, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 cup cherries, pitted
12 oz grilled salmon, flaked
juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
On four plates, layer the arugula, fennel, radish slices, cherries and salmon flakes. Drizzle with lemon juice, olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle with some oregano.
You can also mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt pepper and oregano. Divide among 4 serving plates.
Brianne June 28, 2011 um 10:40 pm
Cherries haven't been in my grocery store for a little over a week now, but I'm still hoping that they show up again. I baked a clafoutis a few weeks ago, and it was disastrous. I don't know if I'll try it again, but I love the stories of tradition you and Bea have shared so much that I still might give it another whirl. Thanks 🙂
la domestique June 28, 2011 um 10:48 pm
I am eagerly awaiting cherry season here in Colorado. Fourth of July always involves watching fireworks with a basket full of cherries to munch on, so maybe they will be at the market this weekend! Lovely post!
Alina—Explora Cuisine June 28, 2011 um 11:20 pm
Great ways to use cherries! I love them most with cheesecake, it's amazing! lovely photos as always!
CouCou June 28, 2011 um 11:30 pm
Je viens tout juste de recevoir Plate to Pixel… and I'm hooked ! This is a fantastic book ! Merci beaucoup ! Maintenant, reste plus qu'a voir si je vais arriver a ameliorer mes pauvres photos de nourriture… 🙂
Et les clafoutis… ahhh…. ca c'est vraiment l'ete !! et mes filles se mettent aussi a en faire. Que du bonheur 🙂
Linda June 28, 2011 um 11:45 pm
oh i adore clafoutis! and i am so jealous of your childhood in provence. all i had was some holidays there… i feel homesick for the place. making my own clafoutis may help a little 😀
Maureen June 28, 2011 um 11:51 pm
"It's like Summer does not officially start unless there is a clafoutis involved."
What a lovely description! For me summer has always started with watermelon.
Since moving to Australia when I think of cherries I think of Christmas because that's when they're everywhere here.
Dwiana June 28, 2011 um 11:53 pm
I am still hoping for more sweet and juicy cheery at our local market store here. Great receipe! and I do enjoy reading old good memories of yours. Thanks for sharing.
Anne Marie June 28, 2011 um 11:53 pm
Man, it seems like cherries beg to be praised. I too posted a couple of weeks ago about my last month cherry picking at my family's tree in Piemonte, Italy and just this weekend about cherry preserves. Mmmmm. As always, I love your recipes and photos.
Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga June 29, 2011 um 12:38 am
This is eerie.
I just made a berry clafouti. The 2nd only in my entire life.
And then I come to your blog, and see this post.
Ok, this is surreal. I actually just posted to my blog seconds ago with a teaser shot of the heavy cream and eggs and batter dripped all over my countertop.
I just took 100 pics of clafouti. And I dont think any of them are going to be as pretty as yours 🙂 Good thing I have lightroom 🙂
p.s. I am going to be reviewing your book on my blog in a day or two. I ADORE IT!!! And I saw your giveway on marla's blog. That's awesome!
Kiran @ KiranTarun.com June 29, 2011 um 1:06 am
Thanks for sharing your story. It brought back memories from my childhood where we had several trees with abundance of fruits. Those wonderful memories. Your recipe is mouth-watering. Gotta take advantage of seasonal cherries 🙂
peachkins June 29, 2011 um 1:13 am
wow! I have yet to try a cherry crumble…
Unknown June 29, 2011 um 1:46 am
Oh Tartlette. For some reason this post resonated with me more than the others. I think it is the reference to childhood traditions centered around food. Deep in Louisiana, everything revolved around which foods were in season. Somehow I get that connection again when I am in the kitchen. I love the colors of your photos…a little deeper and stronger. Just beautiful. I'm with you though. I do not like heat. Been away from the South so long that coming to Texas recently is hard. Its hot. BTW, we were right up the hill from Apt recently in a little town called Saignon, Heaven on earth!! I cried when we left…
ally June 29, 2011 um 4:15 am
food and family….its what it all comes back too
loving the cherry clafoutis – just have to wait for our season again
Unknown June 29, 2011 um 6:35 am
Your description of summer routines reminds me of Ray Bradbury's "Dandelion wine". I have always wanted to visit the southern US since I read it…
The cake looks delicious, I'll definitely look for some cherries at the supermarket next time I go 🙂
365 sonrisas June 29, 2011 um 8:00 am
such an inspiration… Thank you…
shaz June 29, 2011 um 9:59 am
Oh you are making me ache for summer! Cherry season for us seems like such a long way away. Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories with us, and next summer, I'm definitely making clafoutis with the first cherries.
oneordinaryday June 29, 2011 um 11:21 am
So lovely. We've just started finding local cherries and I've been looking for new recipes. Perfect timing! Thanks!
smiles, Sharon June 29, 2011 um 11:45 am
Every post is like Christmas, can't wait to open it up and see what is inside. Every "present" seems to just get better and better. Thank you for generously sharing your talent.
Teresa June 29, 2011 um 12:36 pm
Love this story and madly love cherries too! You reminded me of the beautiful landscapes around Aix-en-Provence, the smells, the fields of lavender and the wonderful summer weather. The heat here in Florida is almost unbreathable too, but oh well, I'll take a slice of the clafoutis and the salad, thank you.
Anonymous June 29, 2011 um 12:54 pm
Wow! We struck a cherry bonanza! I love cherry clafoutis. Who am I kidding? I love cherries! Cherry anything! Thanks for a delightful post and the pictures – as always – are incredible!
antonia June 29, 2011 um 1:54 pm
I´m so excited! I´ve just recived "Plate to Pixel" from Amazon! It´s wonderful, I hope I will learn a lot despite my bad English! Thank you so much for writting it!
dressed by style June 29, 2011 um 2:16 pm
Cherries are hands down my favourite fruit! Our cherry season in Cape Town comes around in December, so I'll make a note of these recipes for then. With anticipated yumminess, Megan
Adeline June 29, 2011 um 2:27 pm
This might be one of my favourite post of yours Helene, thank you.
I've still not learnt how to deal with those memories – growing up with cherries, figs, plums and apricots in the backyard makes Scottish summers rather dull and bland! No options for clafouti, when I spent months eating them cold for a refreshing afternoon treat.
My mum used to climb on the roof (using the window in my room) to pick cherries from the trees; she recently confessed she once ate so many instead of picking them that she had to lie down on the roof for fear of getting sick when moving..
Mrs. C June 29, 2011 um 3:23 pm
I've never made a tart before but this post is sparking some inspiration. And I am not the biggest fan of salmon (working on) but I love fennel so maybe the mix will help!? Check out my homemade Nutella-peanut butter brownies 🙂
Recipes Fashion Marriage
Unknown June 29, 2011 um 3:49 pm
Please contact Micro Trends AV software and have them please unblock your blog. It has been going on for several days. I was able to get into a cached page via Google. It is frustrating, because I love seeing your photos and your recipes and don't want to miss any of it.
Caronae June 29, 2011 um 4:00 pm
I just arrived here from Love Veggies and Yoga, and the timing/content could not be more perfect: I grew up in Michigan, the US's big cherry-producing state, and I am currently, believe it or not, studying in Aix-en-Provence. Lastly, my host mother is making a cherry clafotis literally as we speak. That is a LOT of coincidences, no? 🙂 In Michigan, summer would be spent driving up to the Northern part of the state and buying bags and bags of cherries from farmstands. There would be cherry jam, cherry fudge, cherry salsa, cherry pie, cherry everything. I haven't lived in Michigan for a while and I missed it, but then I came to Aix and now there are cherries everywhere! I just had a giant handful with breakfast this morning. They are so versatile. I once made a blondie recipe with nuts and dried cherries and they were impeccable. I'll be back to your blog; I think having so many coincidences happen at once is a sign from above that I should be reading your blog. 🙂
apaler1 June 29, 2011 um 4:37 pm
I'm a little hesitant to try the salad because of all the unfamiliar flavors like fennel and turnips however, I do love cherries so I think I'll give it a go. Thank you for these easy to follow recipes and the inspiring photos as always!
Nicole Pearce June 29, 2011 um 4:46 pm
I made the clafoutis last night. So very good, and so easy! The only change I made was to soak the cherries in rum before placing them in the pan. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.
Helene June 29, 2011 um 6:09 pm
Barbara: any idea why is it blocking it in the first place? Did you check your settings and filters?
apaler1: well, then you are good, there are no turnips in the salad recipe 🙂
Unknown June 29, 2011 um 6:29 pm
I checked my settings and everything was the same as always. It has lifted the block without my assistance. Sometimes AV software can be a little too agressive. I have not had a problem with my regularly visted web sites until now. But thank goodness I am back to seeing your wonderful recipes. Thank you!
Helene June 29, 2011 um 6:47 pm
Barbara: Thanks for the heads up! AV virus are sometimes over zealous! Glad it is resolved now! I would have hated to cause you more aggravation for a blog 🙂
Gen June 29, 2011 um 7:28 pm
Hum les clafoutis aux cerises quel délice!
J'aime beaucoup la photo d'enfance dans l'arbre, ça me rappelle des souvenirs! Ca me donne envie de refaire des acrobaties ^^
Anonymous June 29, 2011 um 9:03 pm
This post is perfect! With the crazy abundance of cherries I've been on the prowl for more recipes. Thanks for posting!
Lisa @ The Cooking Bride June 29, 2011 um 9:12 pm
I am reading your book now and just started following your blog because of it. I love the story you tell in this post. It was just beautiful!
Anonymous June 29, 2011 um 9:42 pm
I don't know which one i preffer, i love each dish i saw, and the pictures are just wonderful!
Reshmi June 30, 2011 um 1:15 am
Wonderful recipes! Would you please tell me if there is a substitute for sorghum flour that I could use, coconut flour maybe? I have millet and rice, so wouldn't want to use all-purpose flour if I can.
Bigobag June 30, 2011 um 8:54 am
very nice,many compliment i loveyour recipes
Unknown June 30, 2011 um 11:01 am
I could eat my weight in cherries! Love this cherry clafoutis! So simple and yet so elegant!
Anonymous June 30, 2011 um 5:57 pm
Mouthwatering, heavenly, yummy!!!! 🙂
Dolci Fusa June 30, 2011 um 6:10 pm
I've made cherry clafoutis almost two weeks ago and eceryone loves it. I'm planning to cook one with fresh apricot and peaches soon. Summer is so gorgeusly full of different types of fresh fruits.
I've reading your amazing book, I'am at Natural light chapter, and as I continue reading it I love it more! Your writing is so friendly, reader feels so close to you making same experiments and same novice errors… I don't know how to express clearer… only, Thank you!
Unknown June 30, 2011 um 6:55 pm
I can imagine cherries and salmon (while an unlikely combination) would be delish!
I'm not a massive salmon fan but I'll give it a shot 🙂
Unknown June 30, 2011 um 6:55 pm
PS. Can't wait for BC Cherries to finally arrive!
Sashquatch June 30, 2011 um 7:47 pm
Perfect as always 🙂 I have never had a clafoutis sadly, deprived i know! But would love to give one a try and this looks like a lovely recipe to opt for as my first one 🙂
Paul @cookingmesoftly June 30, 2011 um 9:18 pm
…nice one as usual the things you do!
we try to made a cherry clafoutis to, if you have time take a look, we would be happy
Patricia Scarpin July 1, 2011 um 12:47 am
A bag of cherries was one of the last meals I shared with my mom before she passed away. She was very sick and cherries were one of the few things she enjoyed. It reminds me so much of her. Good memories. Love the post, Helen – and tks for sharing a photo of your childhood! Adorable!
Rivki Locker July 1, 2011 um 2:21 am
What a beautiful post, and what lovely memories. I almost never do anything with cherries because they disappear as soon as they enter my home. My children DEVOUR them.
kankana July 1, 2011 um 2:25 am
I am munching cherries whole day .. making cake and then jam 🙂 Make the most out of it .. and this looks so delicious .. may i should buy some more an make this too 🙂
Marla July 1, 2011 um 12:08 pm
Girl you spoil us! All of these beautiful photos, recipes and life stories. Thank you for that. You just brightened my morning 🙂 Ahhh cherries – one of the only reasons I can tolerate the heat of the summer. Peaches & nectarines are pretty sweet too……xo
Rocky Mountain Woman July 1, 2011 um 3:07 pm
The cherries have been slow this year, because, well, summer actually just arrived last week! We still have a ton of snow in the high country…
I have bookmarked this for cherry season which is just around the corner in my neck of the woods.
BTW, just got your book from Amazon and it's going with me to my friend's cabin to reread this weekend…
SweetSavoryPlanet July 1, 2011 um 5:27 pm
I have been thinking about making clafautis and I have a bucket of sour cherries. thanks for the inspiration.
Bego July 1, 2011 um 6:12 pm
Precioso! como siempre.
Valérie la gourmande bleue July 1, 2011 um 6:20 pm
Tu es toute mimi dans le cerisier on te reconnait bien et merci pour tes belles photos
Xai July 3, 2011 um 12:27 am
i went to the farmer's market today and the cherries there were horrible. i guess i have to go cherry picking this week to get me some good quality ones. i've been looking for a good clafouti recipe and i think i finally found one. happy fourth helene!
kyleen July 3, 2011 um 1:52 am
The clafoutis looks delicious. I'm going cherry picking next weekend and I can't wait!
Lucia July 3, 2011 um 11:38 am
Oh, how I love cherries and how I'd love to live in Provence. I often talk with my boyfriend about buying a house there and making clafoutis while he's picking lavender. Probably my clafoutis is not as truly clafoutis as yours, but I've tried some weeks ago and I've written a post on my blog about it. If you'd like to, have a look 🙂
vanessa July 3, 2011 um 12:23 pm
I'm sitting in the airport and now I really want cherries thanks to you 🙂 When I get home from my work trip, I'm going straight to the market to pick up cherries and make either the clafoutis or that cake. Both look divine!
missgazeau July 3, 2011 um 6:40 pm
I am not usually a clafoutis person, but when I saw the whole bucket of cherries my father had just picked from the tree and then your recipe I knew I had to try it. It is simply amazing. I love cherry clafoutis now. I need to do it again!!
Jenelle July 3, 2011 um 10:23 pm
The salmon, fennel, radish, cherry dish looks amazing! And I go ga-ga for anything with pistachios. Thanks for the recipes and the amazing photographs. I wish I could just jump right in them and sit down in your kitchen!
Claire M. July 4, 2011 um 1:45 am
So delicious!! I love it 😉
Lenore July 8, 2011 um 1:24 am
Your photos are beautiful, as are your stories. So glad that I stumbled on your blog!
saltandserenity July 8, 2011 um 11:28 am
During cherry season, I eat cherries like it's my job! Your blog is so charming. I am so happy to have found you.
Just a question on the cherry cakes with pistachio crumble topping…You say to use 2 cups of all purpose flour instead of the 3 cups of flours listed in the ingredients. Is this because AP flour is heavier than the other flours, or should it actually be 3 cups of AP flour?
Anonymous July 14, 2011 um 4:10 am
Love the photo of you and your brother. When you mention your childhood, I remember mine and the food stories that weave into my youth. Great post and love the use of the cherries with radish/fennel.
Two fit and fun gals July 14, 2011 um 6:18 am
i love cherries!! everything looks great 🙂 ive been eating them on their own but id love to add them to a tuna salad of some sort and maybe dress it with orange juice and mint maybe? YUM!
sasha July 15, 2011 um 3:22 pm
the last image was in my goodie bag from the workshop. it's already framed and hung on the wall in my office. i absolutely love it. it's my inspiration.
Ann from Montana August 14, 2011 um 4:45 pm
I've been making the crumble cake…just made my third! I moderate gluten but still partake and I didn't have the flours specified so made the first 2 with all purpose flour and they were wonderful. Just this morning I experimented with almond flour, coconut flour and all purpose. I want to go almond & coconut only but was unsure of how to adapt so …baby steps.
I translated to ratio and used a scale: I put 1 cup of flour in and then 3/4 of it's weight almond flour 1/4 of it's weight coconut flour and added an additional egg. Texture and taste is scrumptious so will try almond and coconut next time with no wheat. I think a 3 to 1 (almond to coconut) unless there is some suggestion of otherwise. And 3 eggs instead of 2…maybe even an extra white ?
Liz September 27, 2011 um 7:28 am
I've just come across your amazing blog via purchasing your 'From Plate to Pixel' book. I run a totally different kind of blog, about my little island in the Med, Malta, but am embarking on a Mediterranean-inspired food blog about using raw ingredients on my doorstep on barren rock in the Med! Your book has already been re-read and will be my bible as I launch off in my new direction.
I love Clafoutis and have just made an autumnal plum one. Reading your post here, I see you're from Apt! I've just spent the past two consecutive holidays there, staying just on the fringes of the town in an old 18th century villa! Baroque to the hilt. I miss the Luberon, and can imagine how you must pine for it too! Apt market is still imprinted in my mind's eye! Oh to transport it to our adopted homes (I am an expat too!).
Will be following your blog forever!