Summer spells an abundance of stone fruit like Cherries, Peaches and Plums in Ontario and have a fairly short season, which typically lasts a couple of months. Whilst the weather here in Toronto is warmer than usual, fruit picking and browsing by small farmers markets are a delightful activity. Last week we drove off with friends to the Niagara- On-The _Lake region.
We choose a weekday as it would be less busy and thought it best, given the fact that most public parks and beaches do tend to get crowded these days. This small town nestled at the southern most tip of Ontario sits on the shores of Lake Ontario, at the mouth of the Niagara river.
The ever so popular Shaw festival, beautiful tree lined streets, quaint 19th century architecture and home to several wineries that stretch along the Niagara river parkway, all making the region a popular day or weekend getaway from here in Toronto.
We choose the picturesque the Queens Royal park, which is a waterfront green area with small beaches, & a gazebo, along with picnic tables, benches. It turned out to be an idyllic spot for an afternoon picnic. After spending some time at the park we choose to drive to the Inniskillin winery in the region. Now whilst their patios is open for wine sampling, we choose to browse around the store and pick up some wine instead. I’ve always been curious about the Canadian ice wine and was interesting to discover some interesting facts whilst in conversation with the staff at the winery.
Ice wine is a sweet wine, essentially served with dessert or at the end of a meal, made from frozen grapes. Frozen grapes (still on the vines) are plucked and pressed whilst frozen.Ice wine varieties include Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Vidal Blanc and Merlot. A wine can only be labelled as “ice wine” if it is made from frozen grapes that were harvested from the vine.
Our next stop was at a local farmers market which seemed a buzz with activity and fresh local fruits. It is always a pleasure buying lovely farm fresh fruits from these lovely friendly vendors. I tend to buy tons of fruits during the summer. Thankfully when I’m not polishing off bowlfuls of berries they are turned into jams and compote. The previous visit to the berry farms got me into some serious jam making mode and lots of it too. A huge batch of strawberries have now been frozen for baking during colder months.On this visit I picked up some Peaches, Cherries & Plums (golden ones that too). I recall looking at all these gorgeous fruit and wondering what to bake with them. Summer fruits are a great addition to any dessert. Most of them work well in Tarts, crumbles and galettes, cobblers or even just grilled.
I have been seeing numerous fellow bloggers posts on the French dessert “Clafoutis”, essentially baked with dark red cherries layered with butter and covered with a thick custard -flan like batter and baked till set. Most often served warm with a dusting of icing sugar and slivered almonds. Well I decided to bake one and take it along for a family dinner. The fresh seasonal cherries in the Clafoutis make this a dessert to drool over. I’ve adapted the recipe from Smitten Kitchen, and it turned out just delicious. Hope you are having a wonderful summer, despite our crazy and challenging times. We are taking it easy with simple pleasure of life and as usual baking up a storm.
Here’s one more reason summer just got even better, with this wonderful seasonal fresh cherry Clafoutis.This recipe is sure to keep you baking all through this summer. Go ahead and bake this before we say goodbye to Cherry season again!
Stay Safe and Happy Baking!
- Ideally one could use whole cherries, however using pitted cherries works better.
- I’ve used a vanilla extract as flavouring,however an almond extract would do wonders to the clafoutis.
- Usually served lukewarm.
Recipe For Cherry Clafoutis: ( Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
- 3 large eggs
- 100 grams) sugar or 50 grams sweetener
- 85 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more to butter dish
- 130 grams all-purpose flour
- A couple pinches of salt
- 235 ml milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons rum (optional)
- 245 grams) cups sweet cherries (pitted)
- Heat oven to 400F. Beat the sugar and eggs together with a whisk until pale in color.
- Gradually add butter, beating to incorporate. Add the flour and salt all at once and whisk until the batter is a homogeneous mixture. Next slowly pour in the milk a little at a time.
- Add rum if you are using it, mixing well. The batter should be very smooth and shiny.
- Place the pitted cherries in a buttered glass dish (9 or 10 inches in diameter)
- Pour the batter over the fruit.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until slightly browned and almost completely set in the middle. Let sit at least 15 minutes before serving in wedges. I like it dusted with powdered sugar and sprinkled some sliced almond flakes.
- Serve warm.