Classic French Cherry Gratin
Cherries are in season–and it turns out that they are antioxidant powerhouses as well as adorably sweet and delicious. This French Provincial recipe is a classic way to show them off.
Imagine a farmhouse kitchen surrounded by cherry trees heavy with ripe fruit. The wood-fired oven is ready to bake this tempting gratin, with its gorgeous cherries nestled in a creamy confection. It is the simplicity of this recipe that is so lusciously French: Pull up a chair under the branches and enjoy.
Unsalted butter for preparing the baking dish
1 1/2 pounds sweet cherries, pitted (i have also used frozen ones, thawed)
1/2 cup cream or fresh, very moist goat cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup finely ground blanched almonds
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Butter a 10 1/2-inch round or oval porcelain gratin or baking dish. Place the cherries evenly in the bottom.
3. Place remaining ingredients, excepting the confectioner’s sugar, in a food processor and process until blended. Pour this mixture over the cherries.
4. Place dish in the center of your oven and bake about 30 minutes, or until the gratin is golden brown and firm. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack.
5. To serve, dust lightly with confectioner’s sugar and cut in wedges.
Serves 6 to 8.
By Cait Johnson, inspired by Patricia Wells At Home in Provence (Scribner, 1996).