With a cherry on top


I don’t really do dinner parties as such. I do, however, have friends round for dinner. The idea of throwing a dinner party brings out the anxious cook in me, who worries about etiquette, matching crockery and whether or not the sorbet course is absolutely necessary.

On the other hand, having my friends round for dinner is something I love. Cooking rustic food, served in well-loved, miss-matched bowls makes me happy, and is far more enjoyable than a formal affair.

Last night I opened my door to friends, served plenty of food and wine and when the time came for pudding, a cherry clafoutis. I acknowledged the difficulty that comes with presenting this dessert in an elegant way. So I did exactly that, I served straight from oven to table, bowls and spoons set in the middle, and used the phrase ‘dig-in’. And they did, with not even the semblance of a serving to keep for today. If this sounds like your style of cooking, here’s how to make my cherry clafoutis. It should serve six, but if you’re as greedy as me and my friends, it will likely only serve four.

Cherry clafoutis

  • 600g cherries, stoned and left whole
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 125g plain flour
  • 3 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200ml milk
  • 200ml double cream
  • 50g caster sugar
  • Icing sugar to dust
  1. Put the pitted cherries in a bowl with the vanilla essence and leave to marinate for at least two hours. Heat the oven to 180°C and butter a large, shallow baking dish.
  2. Whisk the eggs thoroughly and combine with the milk, cream, flour, honey, caster sugar and salt. Mix well until you have a smooth batter, with no lumps.
  3. Add the cherries to the buttered baking dish, before pouring the batter over the fruit. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes and sprinkle with icing sugar to serve.