Which are your first childhood culinary memories?
You know, those foods that just like Proust‘s Madeleines, take you back to another time and another place with just one bite. Perhaps in your mother’s kitchen, or at your grandparent’s house, foods that are familiar yet so distant in time. To me it’s always fascinating how flavors and smells can trigger so many memories, even things we thought were long forgotten.
Many times I ask this same question to my husband, as coming from different countries we didn’t get to experience the same types of food as children, and every now and then I try to recreate his favorite foods but Vegan, of course.
And it’s during one of these conversations that the Cherry Clafoutis made its first appearance.
The Clafoutis is a bizarre food, if you ask me. The first time I’ve been told you put whole cherries in a flan, I wondered who thought that biting into a soft slice of flan, only to find the hard, inedible pit would be a pleasurable experience… Not to mention you have to delicately get rid of the pit (aka spit it somewhere) and the whole thing becomes even stranger. Not the kind of cake you’d want to eat during a posh High Tea I guess :D
Apparently, the reason why the cherries are left whole and not pitted is partly because “the pits contain amygdalin, the active chemical in almond extract, so during baking a small amount of amygdalin from the pits is released into the clafoutis, adding a complementary note to its flavor” (Wikipedia says) but also because in this way they retain all their juices (a French woman told me).
Anyway, the whole “ok I’ll attempt to recreate a Vegan Cherry Clafoutis” thing started when we stumbled upon an abandoned cherry orchard a few weeks ago. We had a lovely impromptu picnic under the shade of these enormous, uncared-for trees, that generously keep on giving new fruits year after year. There were thousands of cherries, many already fallen, and so we took a few – while quite a few! – partaking on the beautiful mystery that nature is: food that comes directly from the earth, naturally, without man’s intervention and without the need for any creature to suffer or die to feed us. Oh man, it felt just right! And with so many cherries, we snacked on them as dessert for many evenings, but it was the perfect opportunity to finally attempt a Vegan Cherry Clafoutis.
So, do you want to find out how to make a light and cruelty-free version of this typical French dessert? Read on then: