Mother Nature provided a long, cool, wet spring with warm sunshine coming just at the right time to produce beautiful, shiny, plump and very juicy cherries. Bings and Rainiers are beginning to flood the market, and this may be the biggest crop year ever, setting a record for the number of bushels picked.
There are around a thousand varieties of cherries grown in the United States, but only about 10 are grown commercially. Bing cherry variety is the deep-dark, glossy favorite because it is succulent and sweet and is harvested all summer long. Rainier varieties rank second, but they tend to be more expensive as there are less of them, they have a shorter harvest season and they don’t store and ship as well as Bings.
Cherries are prevalent at the market currently, and due to their abundance, prices are as low as $1.75 per pound. The Northwest Cherry Growers Association has a Facebook Page with all sorts of juicy tidbits about cherries, and dozens of recipes.
When I first discovered Julia Child and her “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” I learned to make cherry clafoutis, and it has remained one of our favorite summer desserts for decades. It also can be served as a decadent breakfast. It is easy to make and delicious warm or cold, with a dusting of powdered sugar or topped with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.
Adapted by Barb Bourscheidt
- 1 1/4 cups half and half
- 2/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp almond extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup flour
- 4 cups pitted sweet cherries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine half and half, 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, almond extract, salt and flour and whisk until smooth and thoroughly blended. ( A blender works great, or a hand whisk or mixer).
Pour about 1/4 inch batter into baking dish and bake about 5-7 minutes, until set.
Pour remaining batter over cherries. Bake about 45-60 minutes until puffed and golden brown. A knife inserted in the middle should come out clean.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Be sure to refrigerate leftovers.
This recipe serves four for breakfast, six as is for dessert or eight for dessert with whipped cream or ice cream. Enjoy!