©Matt Romack via flickrChris Lacey is a British chef living in France who loves French-inspired cooking. In June it’s time for cherries.

‘This is the time of year that all and sundry are waiting for their cherries to ripen. If you have a tree in your garden you won’t need telling to make sure you pick them before the birds and insects get them all. There is usually a small window of opportunity for one to gather the crop before they all disappear rather rapidly! If you don’t have a tree of your own, then the shops will be full of this delicious fruit. The a la carte recipe – Clafoutis – is very local to us as it’s from the Limousin. I’ve also included a method for preserving fruit when you have that bumper crop.’

MENU RAPIDE – Bottling Cherries

Cherries
Sugar
Water
Sterilised jars

First make a hot syrup with 2 cups of water to 1 cup of sugar.
Then stem and wash your fruit, and remove the stones – the easiest way to do this is to buy a stoner!
Pack the fruit into sterilised jars and settle the fruit by shaking the jar. Then fill the jars with the hot syrup, making sure no air is left in them.
Secure the lids and place in a boiling water bath (simmering at boiling point) for 20 minutes.
Allow to cool and then store in a cupboard until needed.

A LA CARTE – Clafoutis

Serves 6

125g plain flour
2 large eggs
100g icing sugar
200ml boiled milk
Pinch of salt
400g cherries (de-stoned, de-stalked, washed and drained)
50g unsalted butter

Preheat the over to 210 degrees.
Beat the eggs lightly in a bowl. Add the sifted flour and salt and mix. Then add half the sugar. Gradually add the cooled, boiled milk, stirring continuously.
Butter a good-sized, shallow oven-proof dish or flan case and place the cherries in the dish and pour over the batter. Dot with the remaining butter.
Bake in the oven for about 25 – 30 minutes, until the batter is set and the cherries have risen to the top.
Sprinkle with the remaining icing sugar and serve lukewarm.
We like to serve this dish with some of that delicious French vanilla ice cream!

Photo by Matt Romack via Flickr

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