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I am excited to share that this may be one of the last meals cooked in the kitchen because I learned yesterday, my kitchen would be coming apart on Monday to prepare for the installation and painting of my new cooking space. (*me, happy dancing all weekend long!*) To say I am excited is a wee bit of an understatement which makes today’s post all the more special as I had a wonderful time in the kitchen preparing, capturing and savoring these two recipes. So let’s get to two recipes that are simple to prepare and a pleasure to savor.
The cherry trees were ready to harvest, and at my fingertips in my very own garden I had a French dessert waiting to be savored – Clafoutis aux Cerises.
But I needed more than dessert to eat, or at least that was what the balanced eater in me was reminding me to do. Hmmmm . . .
Inspired by Judith Hann’s highly-acclaimed book entirely about herbs complete with plenty of recipes for each season as well as how to cultivate your own herb garden, I tried her bruschetta recipe incorporating herbs with courgettes. I was not disappointed in the least.
Learn more about the book here.
Finding the herbs in my own garden and using what I had – basil (Genovese and dark opal), flat leaf parsley and French oregano – I chopped up a large handful and set aside. Having a leftover baguette, I sliced four pieces on the bias, rubbed each piece with a slice of garlic and drizzled with olive oil before putting in the oven to toast for 5 minutes at 400 degrees. Meanwhile I when about sautéing the courgettes (zucchini).
Prior to making the bruschetta appetizer, early that morning, I had picked a bowl of cherries. I must say, beginning the day in the garden is a wonderful way to start the day well. A sincere joyful start.
Knowing the dessert would be in the oven for just over 30 minutes, I pitted my cherries (although the traditional version of clafoutis keeps the pits as they do provide more flavor. However, I am not interested in pitting while I eat, so I remove them prior. Here is a good pitter to have in your kitchen.) and completed some tasks on my to-do list for the day around the house.
The clafoutis is a show-stopper. When it is ready to come out of the oven, it will be pouffed to three times the size it will settle back to being. This is a treat to see. Have the camera ready (I did not), because it will sink quickly.
Setting it aside to cool, I made my appetizer.
When everything was prepared, I took a couple of pictures without the powdered sugar, so you can see all of the cherry rubies in the clafoutis. Now, these are tart pie cherries if eaten on their own, and I am typically not a cherry eater (give me a strawberry or a marionberry any day), but these cherries in the clafoutis were bites of subtle sweet bursts of summer. I was beyond delighted with how the dessert turned out. So much so, I had two slices for dessert with my tea. 🙂
But I cannot forget the bruschetta!
I now have a new favorite bruschetta recipe (and that is hard to beat and this one has been my favorite for a good twenty years!). The meaty, soft satiation of the zucchini flavored with the herbs and a hint of garlic make the difference of filling and satisfying flavor combinations. And then you add the slice of prosciutto and all bets are off – I am sold. I couldn’t stop eating them.
Below you will find both of the recipes. I do hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Courgettes & Herb Bruschetta with Prosciutto
- 1 medium courgette (zucchini) sliced in thin half slices or diced
- 1/3 cup finely chopped herbs of your choice basil, flat leaf parsley, oregano were my choice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- fleur de sel & freshly ground pepper
- 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil best quality you have
- 2-3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto or scrumptious savory ham
- 1/2 crusty French baguette sliced on the bias or length-wise
- Toast the slices of the baguette. Before putting them in the oven to toast (if this is how you prefer – I do), rub with a slice of garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Place in a 400 degree oven – middle rack – for 5 minutes or until lightly brown.
- Prepare the courgette and place into a medium heat sauté pan with the olive oil to coat the pan. Cook until lightly brown. Add the minced garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the chopped herbs and remove from heat. Keeping it in the pan, mix together and then spoon on top of the baguette slices. Top with prosciutto. Enjoy with a lovely glass of crisp wine – a rosé or white wine.
Clafoutis aux Cerises (Cherry Clafoutis)
- 2 cups fresh cherries pitted (unpitted is traditional)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp Cassis or Cognac or Kirsch (liqueur of choice)
- 6 large fresh eggs
- 1 tsp fleur de sel
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter for the pan
- 2-3 Tbsp sugar infused with vanilla bean (vanilla bean is optional)
- 1-2 Tbsp confectioner's sugar for dusting upon serving
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (210 Celsius)
- Prepare your baking pan. I use my copper skillet. Cast iron pans work well as do ceramic baking dishes. With a papertowel or brush rub the room temperature unsalted butter to cover the entire pan. Dust with vanilla sugar until all of the surface is sugar coated. Set aside.
- Mix the batter by hand with a whisk, hand-mixer or stand-mixer with whisk attachment. Combine milk, whipping cream, liqueur, vanilla, sugar, salt, and eggs. Mix on medium speed until combined. Then add the flour and mix for a minute or two until combined. Likely, it won't be smooth. If it is, great! If it is not, don't worry. Using a seive, run the batter through a seive for a smooth mixture.
- Place the cherries into the baking pan, spreading them out evenly-ish – they will move when the batter is poured into the pan. Then pour the batter into the pan. The cherries will begin to swim. Carefully place the pan into the oven. Make sure the cherries are evenly arranged as you prefer.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until nicely browned on the top and bottom. The clafoutis will rise generously. Upon taking it out of the oven, it will begin to sink. Don't worry. You will want to let it cool before you enjoy. Once it has cooled, top with a dusting of little or a lot or to your taste confectioner's sugar. Serve and enjoy!