Tart ground cherries compliment a sweet almond and custard like filling in a somewhat traditional French Clafoutis. Traditional French Clafoutis is made using fresh cherries with their pits still in. The pits give the dessert the slight almond taste. Ground cherries do not have pits so the addition of almond flavoring is required.
When we were in Montreal last weekend we went to the Marche Atwater, which is a fantastic farmer’s market, you can find everything and anything there. I have this crazy addiction to anything French but when I am given the opportunity to shop in a French Supermarche or even a Pharmacie, I go nuts buying all sorts of little things. You can imagine how I was when I saw these ground cherries; I was smiling ear to ear! We have only seen ground cherries one other time, at Lenny’s mother’s house last summer. We knew she would love some so we purchased a big basket to smuggle back to the states. We ate a large portion, gave her some and brought the rest back to California.
What is a ground cherry? A ground cherry also known as a Physalis is a small orange fruit similar to a very small cherry tomato, but it is enclosed in a large papery husk, which reminded me of a paper lantern. The small fruit does not have a pit, but rather a bunch of tiny seeds. The taste is slightly tart with a mild, and refreshing acidity.
I love making clafoutis and whenever I have some stone fruits laying around that are in need of love, I fall back onto a clafoutis. Traditional it is made with cherries but any stone fruit works just as nicely. The texture is somewhat custard like but a little firmer. I usually pit my fruit when I made it, therefore, I add either almond extract or I use almond flour, which gives it a great texture as well as flavor. This is a great and easy recipe to have on hand all year!
Recipe: Ground Cherry Clafoutis
* 1 serving
1/4 lb ground cherries, left whole
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Heat oven to 350. Butter small gratin dish and sprinkle ground cherries in it. Mix the egg, sugar, flour, milk and almond extract, until well blended. Pour over the ground cherries and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, until golden and lightly puffed. Serve. Eat.