Life is just a bowl of cherries and here's a food recipe to help you bake something easy and delicious with them

If you like cherries (and I adore cherries) then I’ve got some good news. Not only is the cherry harvest in, but it’s bigger than it’s been in years. (No, I’m not psychic. I just get news releases.)

Wanna know why it is so big? Don’t care, but want to know what to do with all those fabulous cherries? Then just ...

Get your cherry season news right here!
Cherry season is here and we’re all but swimming in the sweet little treats. Why so many? It turns out that this bountiful crop of cherries (supposedly bigger than we’ve seen for a few years) is due to perfect weather and growing conditions.

Neat how that works out, isn’t it?

In fact, that works out so well that they say “California growers are expecting to produce about 5 million boxes of Bing cherries, about twice what has been harvested during the past two seasons.”

The cherries are at your farmer’s market now (I know because I just nibbled my way from one end of the market to the other), so run, don’t walk. But if you want to know how to pick them and store them and get a great (and easy) French recipe for baking them, then read on.

Cherry picking
Taste ‘em, when you can (easiest at farmer’s markets, trust me, I know) and buy the sweet ones that are unblemished (avoid dark spots and mushy cherries). Store them in the fridge. And rinse in cool water before eating.

It’s that easy.

Now that you’ve got ‘em, what do you do with ‘em?
Personally, I’m perfectly happy to sit, with a bowl on my lap, flipping through a book or just watching the world go by, and munch away. But if I feel like sharing and want to make something nice, I make a clafoutis.

A whassis?
Clafoutis. It is a French dessert made by covering a baking dish full of cherries with a generous layer of what is most akin to a thick crepe batter and popping them into the oven for a nice bake.

The best way to describe it is as a thick, golden brown pancake (although thicker than the normal pancake) heavily studded with cherries. It is quite delicious.

Two interesting things you might not know about clafoutis
First, while cherries are traditional, you can also find clafoutis made from all sorts of fruits, such as strawberries. I’ve never had one, but it just sounds divine, doesn’t it?

And second, in France, the cherries in the cherry clafoutis are traditionally not pitted. Which makes it fun to eat with family and a tad bit troubling to eat in a nice restaurant.

Want to try? It’s easy to make and wonderful to eat. And here’s a food recipe that proves it.
Food recipe: Cherry Clafoutis
This recipe is adapted from Bon Appétit. It uses frozen cherries, which is nice if you want them pitted and don’t want to pit them (you know, you can buy pitters to do the job, but I never find them to be all that great). Or you can use fresh cherries and skip the pitting (just tell everyone it is the French way).

1 16-ounce package frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed, drained
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
3/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup almonds, toasted, cooled
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325̊F. Generously butter six 1-cup custard cups. Mix cherries, 2 tablespoons sugar, and cornstarch in large bowl. Divide among prepared cups.

Whisk eggs, vanilla, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in medium bowl until well blended. Cook butter in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until butter begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Add butter to egg mixture and whisk to blend. Whisk in milk. Finely grind almonds, flour, and salt in processor. Stir nut mixture into custard. Pour custard over cherries, dividing equally.

Bake clafoutis until set in center, about 35 minutes. Run knife around sides of clafoutis to loosen. Slide out onto plates. Serve clafoutis warm or at room temperature.

Sprinkle with confectioners sugar or serve with vanilla ice cream.

Bottom line
Well, it's not low fat, but it is easy and it does qualify as almost vegetarian, so I'm thinking you can feel pretty good about this.

Besides, it is yummy.