Cherry Clafoutis

Cherry clafoutis

cherry clafoutisCherry clafoutis is a traditional French cake from the Limousin region of France. The classic recipe is made with a pancake or flan batter. You can either use self-raising flour or plain flour and baking powder. Traditionally, black cherries are used in the clafoutis but you can also make it with most other fruits. It also works well with red cherries, plums, pears or soft summer fruits (e.g. raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc.).

The word clafoutis comes from the Occitan verb clafir which means to fill.  If fruit other than cherries are used then the clafoutis becomes a flaugnarde. Flaugnarde comes from the Occitan word flaunhard which means “soft” or “downy”. In the traditional French dish, the cherry stones are not removed as they contain an element called amygdalin which is found in almonds and they therefore add an almond flavour to the cake. It is your choice entirely whether you leave the stones in or not. Personally I prefer to take them out.

The cherries are softened for 5 minutes in the oven before the batter is poured over and the cake is baked.

It would also to be possible to cook this cake on the stove if you don’t have an oven. For a gluten-free version, see this gluten-free pear cake.

300ml milk
3 eggs
60g plain flour + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder OR 60g self-raising flour
60g sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

300 cherries, pitted
1 tablespoon sugar
icing sugar for dusting the cake with
butter or oil for greasing the cake tin

Heat the oven to 180ºC – 200ºC.
Beat the eggs with a whisk. Beat in the milk and then add the flour (and baking powder if using), sugar and vanilla extract and mix well.

Grease a cake tin and then arrange the cherries on the bottom of the tin. Cook the cherries in the oven for 5 minutes to soften.

Pour over the batter mix and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Check the cake after 15 minutes and turn the tin through 180º so that it cooks evenly.

Take out of the oven once the cake has cooked and leave to cool slightly. Dust the top with icing sugar. The cake is best served warm with cream if you like.


Ricotta berry mousse

ricotta mousse with summer fruit and berries

Ricotta berry mousse

I made this with some summer berries (blackberries and raspberries) and some of the first ricotta that I made this year from milking the neighbour’s goats.

250g ricotta cheese
125ml single cream
sugar to taste

Save some berries back for decoration. Blend the remaining berries.
Combine the ricotta, cream and sugar in a bowl and mix well.Swirl the berry mixture through the cheese and cream and decorate with the berries.
Chill before serving.

Gluten-free pear cake

Gluten-free pear cake


Gluten-free pear cake

This gluten-free pear cake uses ground almonds instead of flour. The cake is cooked on the top of the stove so is ideal if you don’t have an oven. I wanted to try baking a cake in a frying pan so that we wouldn’t have to light the bread oven to make something sweet. I looked on Internet and found the idea for a recipe on clevercook. The cake had the added advantage of being completely gluten-free and that way I could use our own almonds instead of flour.

My idea was to follow the principle of a tarte tatin, using the pears we had picked last winter, and pour over the batter mixture. The pears are a winter variety and so are quite robust. The pears had been halved before freezing so I just cut them into smaller pieces.

I heated them through in a deep-sided frying pan until soft and the juice had evaporated.

I then lined the deep frying pan with greaseproof paper, brushed it with sunflower oil and sprinkled it with brown sugar. I put the pear pieces on top and poured over the batter.

I covered the pan and cooked over a low heat for about 20 minutes. Once it had cooked all the way through, I turned it out upside down onto a cooling rack. If you weren’t pouring the batter over fruit and wanted to turn the cake while it was cooking, you could turn the cake after 10 minutes so that it cooked evenly on both sides.


Pear cake in a frying pan

Here is the recipe for the cake batter:

20g butter
3 eggs
90g brown sugar
160g ground almonds
1 teaspoon cornflour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons orange juice
grated rind of an orange

In a food processor, blitz the butter and then add the eggs, one at a time. Mix in all the dry ingredients and blitz again. Add the orange juice and rind and blitz for a final time.

Pear tarte tatin

Gluten-free pear cake


Strawberry ice-cream

Egg-free strawberry ice-cream

Egg-free strawberry ice-cream

With our three laying hens, our egg production can’t keep up with the strawberries so I decided to try out different ways of making ice-cream using some of the goat milk from the neighbour’s goats that I milk each day. I found the perfect recipe in “Ices: The Definitive Guide“. The recipe comes from Mars. Marshall’s Book of Ices (1885) and uses cornflour to thicken the mixture rather than an egg-based custard or thick cream.

4 tablespoons cornflour
90g granulated sugar
500ml goat milk
brown sugar
balsamic vinegar

METHOD:In a bowl, combine the cornflour and granulated sugar. Pour in enough milk so that the mixture has the consistency of thin cream.

Heat the rest of the milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Gradually pour in the cornflour mixture, stirring well. Bring back up to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring all the time. Leave to cool.

Put the strawberries, a couple of dessertspoons of brown sugar and a splash of balsamic vinegar in a bowl. Squeeze them through your fingers to break them up and mix well.

Mix enough of the cornflour mixture and the strawberries together to taste . Pour into an ice-cream maker. If you don’t have an ice-cream maker, put the mixture in a container in the freezer and whisk every hour to stop ice crystals forming.

Strawberries with balsamic vinegar

Strawberries with balsamic vinegar

Strawberries with balsamic vinegar

Although they sound like strange bedfellows, strawberries and balsamic vinegar go really well together.

balsamic vinegar
brown sugar

Hull the strawberries and cut into smaller pieces if they are large.Sprinkle over a couple of dessertspoons of brown sugar and a good splash of balsamic vinegar. Mix well. It’s a good idea to leave for at least 30 minutes so that the vinegar draws out the strawberry juice.



Rice pudding made with goats’ milk

Rice pudding with goats' milk

Rice pudding with goats’ milk

2 litres goats’ milk
1 large cinnamon stick
1 orange, remove peel into strips
4 heaped dessert spoons sugar
300g pudding rice

Gently heat the milk in a saucepan until just below boiling point. Turn down and add the cinnamon and sugar and stir well until the sugar has dissolved. Add the strips of orange peel and sprinkle in the rice. Stir well. Simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the rice is cooked.

Divide the rice pudding into small bowls and sprinkle some ground cinnamon on each one. Serve with strawberry jam.

Vanilla ice-cream made with goats’ milk

Vanilla ice-cream made with goats' milk

Vanilla ice-cream made with goats’ milk

2 cups goat milk
2 vanilla pods, split and scraped
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoons cornflour
1/3 cup sugar

Gently heat the milk in a saucepan with the vanilla pods.

Whisk the sugar, egg yolks and cornflour for 2 minutes.

Pour some of the heated milk over the egg mixture, whisking well. Pour in the rest of the milk and then return to the pan.

Continue to heat the mixture for about 10 minutes until it has thickened and it coats the back of a wooden spoon.

You can either use an ice-cream maker or put the mixture in a container in the freezer and whisk well every 30 minutes or so to stop ice crystals forming.

Almond chocolate fondant puddings

Joe made these to finish off a great meal and they were delicious. They use ground almonds and cornflour instead of normal flour.

Chocolate fondant pudding

250g dark chocolate (70%)
110g unsalted butter
80g ground almonds
4 eggs, separated
80g cornflour
180g caster sugar

Line your ramekins with chocolate shavings (80g out of the total 250g of chocolate) or sprinkle with cocoa powder and use 170g of dark chocolate for the recipe.

Melt the chocolate over a bain-marie. Add the butter, cornflour, ground almonds and four egg yolks.

Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff. Gradually incorporate the sugar and then gently fold in the chocolate mixture.

Pour into the moulds and bake in a 180ºC oven for 15 minutes or until set.

If you like, you can half-fill the ramekins and put a surprise in the middle (chocolate truffle, chocolate button, strawberry) and fill with the other half.


Roast pears

This was made with the winter pears that we grow on the cortijo. The pears have got a fantastic taste but are quite hard so they are perfect for roasting. The original idea was to make a pear tarte tatin but this proved difficult with the puff pastry you can get in Spain and also the fluctuating temperatures of the bread oven. In the end, we decided that the pear were nicer on their own.

Serves 2

2 large pears
6 green cardamom pods
25g brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Kirsch liqueur

Crush the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar and remove the husks. Add the sugar and grind up.

Put the lemon juice and liqueur in a bowl. Quarter and core the pears, adding them to the bowl as you go.

Put the pears and their juice into an oven-proof dish and mix with the sugar. Cover with foil and bake in the oven at 190ºC for about 20-30 minutes or until you can pierce them easily with a knife.


Gooseberry Fool

This year there were plenty of tiny gooseberries and enough to do something with them so for a quick pudding I whizzed up some gooseberry fool. Here’s the recipe. As the gooseberries were very small, I didn’t think it necessary to blitz them after cooking them and it was nice to have a bit of texture.

500g gooseberries
125g sugar
125ml whipping cream, chilled
1 pot natural yoghurt, chilled

Combine the gooseberries and sugar in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring so that the sugar doesn’t stick.

Cook for 10 minutes and then leave to cool.

Whip the cream and combine with the yoghurt and mix the fruit through.