When M & I first got our upstate house, I approached everything with Martha Stewart determination. From the color and furnishing of the interior to the landscape surrounding the house. Then, I learned my lesson.
The interior was actually not difficult since that’s what I do for a living—except I had never before touched upstate country Dutch/Victorian style. It was nothing that a little research couldn’t fix. Landscaping, on the other callus hand, was a whole different story.
We visited nurseries every weekend, and I spend most of my time in the garden, determined to banish all weeds and have the most colorful flowerbeds in the neighborhood. Mother Nature had other ideas. If you can’t tend to your garden on a regular basis, I learned, you have to accept what Mother—and the help of her furry creatures—allow you.
It’s now been thirteen years, and our garden is filled with perennials that need minimum attention. Weeds do pop up here and there, but I manage to keep them at bay, so our garden doesn’t resemble an abandoned field. It might not be the ideal garden dreamed up by this city boy, but it certainly makes country living a lot more enjoyable and more time to invite friends for the weekends.
When we have friends for the weekend, I tend to abide by the same approach and make simple desserts that aren’t labor-intensive. Ginger Cherry Claflouti is an example of such easy desserts that can satisfy a house full of guests.
Ginger Cherry Clafoutis
yield: one 8×8 baking dish
1 pound (about 3-1/2 cups) fresh sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
4 large eggs, room temperature
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Amaretto (optional but recommended)
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1/2 cup (2-1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Confectioners’s sugar (optional)
1. Combine milk and ginger in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, remove from heat and let steep for 15-20 minutes.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375℉. Butter an 8×8 baking dish and arrange cherries in a single layer, set aside.
3. Add eggs, sugar, Amaretto and vanilla to a medium bowl, whisk to combine. Add flour and salt and whisk until mixture is smooth. Set aside.
4. Strained ginger-milk mixture into a measuring cup. Wipe saucepan clean of remaining ginger, add strained ginger-milk mixture and heavy cream; bring to a bare simmer and remove from heat.
5. Gradually pour warm ginger cream into egg mixture, whisk constantly until combined. Pour mixture over a fine-mesh strainer into the prepared baking dish.
6. Bake clafouti until custard is set and top is golden brown, about 40-50 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, dust top with confectioners’s sugar (if use) and serve.