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My Cherry Amour

August 12, 1993|JOAN DRAKE

Before fresh cherries disappear from markets for another year, use them to make clafouti , a dessert that originated in the Limousin region of France. Pronounced clafoo-TEE , the traditional recipe calls for dark, sweet cherries, though other fruits, particularly berries, may be substituted.

A custard batter poured over the fruit puffs during the last few minutes of baking. The end result is similar to bread pudding.

Cherries for the recipe must be pitted, yet left whole. A pitting tool makes quick work of this tedious chore. Most hand types hold one cherry at a time. Simply press down on the plunger (Step 1) to push the pit through.

Once pitted, arrange the cherries in an even layer (Step 2) in a baking dish that has been lightly greased and sprinkled with sugar.

Prepare the custard batter by beating the eggs and sugar together until the mixture doubles in volume, is thick and pale-yellow. Next sift the flour (Step 3), one tablespoon at a time, over the top. Whisk lightly following each addition.

Combine the milk, salt and vanilla in a large measuring cup or bowl. Add the milk mixture all at once to the egg mixture (Step 4) and stir lightly to mix.

Sift the cornstarch evenly over the cherries, then pour in the batter (Step 5). Bake the clafouti until puffy and brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

The clafouti will sink during the 10 minutes it should cool after coming out of the oven. Sift powdered sugar over the top (Step 6) and serve while still warm, topped with whipped cream or ice cream.

CLAFOUTI 1 pound fresh dark, sweet cherries 4 eggs 1/4 cup superfine sugar 1/4 cup flour 1 2/3 cups milk 1/8 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon cornstarch Powdered sugar Whipped cream or ice cream, optional

Remove pits from cherries. Arrange fruit in lightly greased and sugared 1 1/2-quart shallow baking dish. Set aside.

Beat eggs and sugar until mixture doubles in volume and is thick and lemon-colored. Gradually sift in flour, 1 tablespoon at time, beating lightly after each addition.

Combine milk, salt and vanilla. Add all at once to egg mixture, stirring lightly to mix. Sift cornstarch evenly over cherries, then pour in batter.

Bake at 350 degrees 45 to 50 minutes until puffy and brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack 10 minutes.

Sift powdered sugar over top. Serve warm with whipped cream. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about: 172 calories; 127 mg sodium; 147 mg cholesterol; 5 grams fat; 25 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 0.18 gram fiber.

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