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Cherry clafoutis

Serves 4

In France, cherries for clafoutis are not pitted before they're added to the batter. The idea is that the cooked fruits hold their shape better and the pits release a subtle almond flavor into the pudding. We tried it both ways and found that the cherries hold together just fine without their pits and that almond extract imparts a stronger whiff of almond than a cherry stone ever could. This is a homestyle dessert, however, and if family is gathered around, you might want to leave the pits in the fruit to cut down on preparation time. Like popovers or a souffle, clafoutis is most appealing right out of the oven while it's still puffy.

1 tablespoon butter (for the dish)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
6 eggs
6 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup flour
4 cups sweet or sour cherries, washed, stemmed, and pitted
Confectioners' sugar (for sprinkling)
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch cast iron skillet or a baking dish of the same size (2 quart capacity).2. In a blender, combine the vanilla and almond extracts, eggs, sugar, and milk. Blend for a few seconds until the mixture is smooth.

3. Add the flour and blend for 1 minute or until smooth. Pour the batter into the skillet and sprinkle the cherries evenly over the top.

4. Bake the clafoutis for 30 minutes or until skewer inserted into the batter comes out clean and a golden crust has formed on top. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and serve.

Jonathan Levitt

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