Sunday, 10 July 2011

Recipe XVII - Two-in-one: Sour Cherry Clafoutis and Austrian Kaiserschmarrn

Last night was a very good night for cherry picking - the moon was over half-full, scattered clouds were letting the light seep through and I was out cycling with a special companion in the hills where fruit grows in abundance and you can see as far as next Thursday. The collection was pretty quick, provided I hoisted her on my shoulders so she could reach the higher branches, but we made a pleasant occasion out of it. Remember, Nature gives us Her fruit freely and with love; the least we can do is sing a song of thanks to the tree that provided us with its produce. Leaving something there in return (bread, some home-made alcohol, etc.) is also a good thing to do.

3 large eggs
300-350g sour cherries, preferably freshly-picked but from your local market is fine
300ml fresh milk
60g ordinary flour
60-75g sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
Baking powder
Icing sugar

Go to your local cherry orchard in the evening after the sun has crossed the horizon but is still giving light.
When you come home, put your oven on to about 180°C.
Get three eggs and crack them into a bowl.
Pour the sugar and vanilla essence into the bowl and beat thoroughly into the eggs.
Take the milk and flour, and give them a beating until it becomes a consistent batter.

Put the cherries into a baking dish, arranging them on the bottom. Don't be afraid to use some of the less nice-looking ones as they provide taste to the dish.
Pour the batter over the cherries (often, not all the mixture gets used), and put the baking dish in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until it is thoroughly cooked.

To see if it is ready, put a knife in the middle and if there is a lot on the blade, it still needs 5 more minutes.
Once out of the oven, leave it to cool slightly (10 minutes should do) and serve at a warmish temperature. It will probably reduce in size a little in the dish. This is normal.
Sprinkle some icing sugar on top of it if you like.

Goes well just on its own with a nice cup of tea in the afternoon, or as an early Sunday evening dessert. Cold vanilla sauce or ice cream would go down very nicely.

What to do with the rest? An Austro-Hungarian treat, Kaiserschmarrn! (Or in Hungarian, Csaszamorzsa)
Take the rest of the batter (top it up if necessary with another egg, a bit of flour, sugar and some milk) and put it in a sizzlingly hot frying pan with some butter. Immediately pour some currents and sultanas in it, sprinkle cinnamon on the top, and fry for two minutes. Put it under the grill for a further three to four minutes (until it rises) and serve hot or cold.

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