My friend got me to sign up for one of the Cooking Classes at Williams-Sonoma with him. It sounded all right until I realized I was just going to sit there and watch a someone cook and then eat the results. More importantly, I would be paying $40 to just sit there and watch someone cook and then eat the results.
Either way, we signed up for the “Summer Desserts” class. The menu was Phyllo Ice Cream Cups with Summer Fruit, Cherry Clafoutis and Fresh Peach Ice Cream.
It was kind of funny. Me and my friend were (a) the only Asians and (b) the only ones under the age of 40 there.
The desserts were pretty good, especially the Cherry Clafoutis, but in all honesty, the recipes are pretty straight-forward and easy to follow. You don’t need to paying $50-$40 to hire a professional to stand there and show you how to make it. Well, maybe except the ice cream. But that requires buying an ice cream maker in the first place, which, in itself, is pointless unless you’ve got the time to sit there and churn ice cream…oh wait. I forgot. This is aimed at rich housewives. Silly me.
But hey, at least we got these spiffy print-outs and a 10% discount after the class. Which makes it all worth it, right?
And just because I’m a nice person, I’ll even give you the recipe of the awesome Cherry Clafoutis recipe. No, you don’t get the others because the ice cream one is too long and the phyllo cups are ridiculously easy.
Cherry Clafoutis [kla-foo-TEE]
Cherries are either sweet or sour. The sour ones, used for pies and jams, are seldom sold fresh. Sweet cherries ar the ones everyone clamors for when they first appear in early summer. The sweet Bing is the deep red-black cherry most often seen, while the Rainier, widely conisdered the sweeetest, is a bright red and sometimes gold cherry. Both are declicious and are just two of the many varieties available. Although traditional clafoutis is made with unpitted whole cherries, said to add extra cherry flavor, this luscious pit-free version does not lack for flavor but is a little easier to eat. (You can also switch out the cherries with peaches, plums, raspberries, blueberries, etc.)
3/4 lb. sweet cherries, pitted and halved
3 Tbs. dark rum or vanilla bean paste (we used the vanilla paste. I guess you could use vanilla extract too)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Butter a shallow 9-by-14-inch baking dish wit ha 2-quart capacity and dust with sugar. (Or you can just get little ramekins and not sugar the dish because it’s pointless). Tap out any excess (or just leave it all in because you want diabetes).
In a small bowl, toss together the cherries and rum and set asides. (or not, if you’re using vanilla paste/extract).
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the eggs and whisk until the batter is smooth, Slowly pour in the cream, whisking constantly. Layer the cherries on the bottom of the prepared baking dish and pour the batter over the cherries. Bake until puffed and golden, 33 to 35 minutes. (Basically until the it doesn’t jiggle anymore)
Serve the clafoutis hot and puffed, or transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature before serving. It will deflate as it cools but will still be delicious. Serves 6 to 8. (An added bonus is to serve sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with whipped cream, ice cream, or, even better, crème fraîche).
[Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Dessert, by Abigail Johnson Dodge (Simon & Schuster, 2002).]