This week leading into Christmas is always busy, isn’t it? There are parties to attend and gifts to wrap. Those with young ones in their lives probably have concerts and pageants to watch as well. As busy as it can be, it’s still possible to find time to do a little extra baking, especially when it’s this simple Cherry and Pistachio Clafoutis from Mark Bittman.
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This month’s Recipe ReDux challenge was a fortunate one in a few ways. First, I’ve been wanting to offer a review of Bittman’s new Kitchen Matrix but wasn’t sure how I’d be able to fit it into my line up. Second, I rediscovered a pack of cherries I’d frozen earlier in the year using this method. Since the challenge is to Grab a Book & Cook everything seemed to line up almost perfectly.
We’re repeating last December’s theme due to popular demand: It’s the end of the year and we’re taking a moment to reflect – The Recipe ReDux has been around for 54 months! To celebrate, we’re playing a little party game this month: Grab your nearest cookbook and ReDux the recipe on page 54 or 154. We can’t wait to see the books you’re cooking from these days.
Since I have a Kindle version of Kitchen Matrix there aren’t any actual page numbers, but there is a comprehensive index. All the recipes are photographed and presented in a fashion similar to Pinterest. In typical Bittman style you’ll find a base recipe and a slew of variations. Besides Cherry and Pistachio you’ll also find instructions for making peach and star anise as well as mango coconut clafoutis. Every chapter has a base idea and variations, including a section called the recipe generator where you’re encouraged to mix and match to suit your tastes.
My tastes were leaning towards a fruity dessert and while I wish I’d found more cherries in my freezer, I wasn’t unhappy with the end result. If you’ve made crepes before the batter will seem very similar to you. It contains a blend of eggs, milk, sugar and a little bit of flour to give some body. The baking takes the longest part, but for a very small investment in hands on time, you’ll have a beautiful dessert that cooks while you eat dinner and gives you an excuse to linger at the table before the hustle and bustle of the season gets you up and moving again.
- 2 cup cherries, thawed if frozen, pitted or not
- ¼ cup shelled pistachios
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup milk (or some combination that gives 1½ cups)
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- ⅓ cup plain flour
- ½ teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
- optional confectioner's or table sugar to sprinkle over the top
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prep an 8 or 9 inch baking dish with butter or baking spray. (I used a round dish, but the shape isn't important)
- Scatter the cherries in the bottom of the dish. Coarsely chop the pistachios and set aside.
- Mix the remaining ingredients together until smooth. (If using a blender, put all the liquids at the bottom).
- Pour the batter over the cherries and scatter the chopped pistachios on top.
- Bake until nicely browned on top and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
- If desired sprinkle the top with a little sugar (confectioner's or table sugar is fine).
I found 3 large eggs made a clafoutis that was a bit “eggy” in flavor, but it wasn’t terrible. You might want to use medium eggs or drop to 2 large eggs. There’s not a lot of sugar in the recipe proper, which was perfect since the cherries had been tossed in sugar before freezing them. Depending on the type of cherries used, you might want to increase to 3/4 cup of sugar.
While flipping through Kitchen Matrix, I found many drool worthy recipes, most of them with drool worthy photos. At least they were drool worthy when viewed on my computer or phone. The photos aren’t as impressive on my Kindle paperwhite but the way the book was formatted worked best on that device. The recipes themselves (did I mention they were drool worthy?) shine with Mark Bittman’s normal good humor and clear style as well as his signature variations.
Don’t forget to drop by and visit my fellow Recipe ReDuxers who are also grabbing their favorite cookbooks and cooking for you this month.