Spring starts early in the south of France. Nutmeg was shocked to learn that the cherries on the neighbours’ tree would be ready to eat by the middle of May!! Under perfect conditions, local BC cherries only start arriving in Calgary farmers markets in mid-July. Sure enough the white flowering trees quickly turned to producing the luscious red fruit, and all of a sudden the orchards were laden with produce. The problem with cherries is you can only eat so many before they start spoiling.
The cherry is a stone fruit within the Prunus species, related to plums and apricots. As a fruit, the cherry has been consumed for millenniums, with references even in Roman times. There are numerous varieties of cherries globally. However, the most commonly known strains in North America are the wild cherry (or sweet cherry) and the sour cherry. The red pigment in cherries is called anthocyanin, and it has been shown to provide some pain relief and reduce inflammation.
The neighbours live in Paris and only visit a few weeks a year. They are pleased to have people eating their cherries, rather than the birds. So Nutmeg faithfully watched the tree for a few weeks. Once the fruit started turning, she and Ginger ventured next door every day to pick just the really reddest of the red cherries. Here, is an easy French dessert that can be made with cherries. Nutmeg tried it on some extremely accommodating and gracious hosts one evening with favorable reviews.
Note: warn your guests so no one eats a pit in error. The great thing about this recipe is you can use other fruit in season such as: apricots, grapes, pears.
- 3½ Pounds Ripe Cherries, washed
- 5 Large Eggs
- ¾ Cup Milk
- ¾ Cup Crème Fraiche, or heavy whipping cream
- 1¼ Cups Sugar
- ¾ Cup Flour
- 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Sugar (vanilla extract will change the color)
- 1 Pinch Salt
- Butter and Sugar to coat the pan
- Butter the pan (preference is in clay but a glass dish will work)
- Coat with a bit of sugar and discard the excess
- Remove the stocks from the cherries (not the pits) and put them in the pan
- Mix all the other ingredients (eggs, milk, crème fraîche, sugar, flour, vanilla sugar) and pour over the cherries
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes
- Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown
- Sprinkle sugar on the top when you take it from the oven