My mission for this story was to make a French dessert from a Julia Child’s cookbook, my new love and inspiration when it comes to cooking. I selected an affordable and simple recipe that, for what the picture showed, to be an incredible Cherry Clafouti. (Prounounced kla-foo-TEE.) I say affordable because I had all of the ingredients in my kitchen pantry except for the oh-too important and ominous cherries.
I’m no Julia Child, but I can make an impressive dessert when the time calls, so I wasn’t too worried about the task. With apron on and spatula in hand I began.
How I botched the directions to the recipe. First of all I couldn’t find any fresh cherries. Turns out they weren’t in season. So I settled for frozen cherries thinking these would make a fine substitute once they thawed out. Following the recipe carefully, I mixed all the ingredients for the batter together. I poured a fraction of the batter into the cooking pan, and put it into the oven until, I was told, it had a “film” over it. Not sure what that meant, I checked periodically to notice any slight changes. Noticing none after twenty minutes in the oven I began to get nervous, so I took the pan out and went to the next step, the cherries. Usually, I am good at math like converting the measurements in a recipe. Well, it turns out that three cups of cherries is slightly less than one pound and I mistakenly used four pounds of cherries, three times more than the recipe called for. The label on the bag was very confusing. Going on with my obliviousness to the way too many cherries, I poured the rest of the batter over the overflow of cherries and popped in my precious, almost complete Clafouti in the oven and set the timer.
This recipe was supposed to end up looking a fluffy, cake-like cherry filled pastry topped with powdered sugar. What I got was something that looked like a giant bowl of red fish eggs. The batter absolutely did not rise like it was supposed to and the cherries made it really runny. Regardless of the looks, I was a proud baker and tasted the cherry fish eggs. When I put the fork into my mouth I was pleasantly surprised, the cherries were not tart like I expected, they were actually extremely sweet. (Possibly because of the whole cup of sugar I sprinkled throughout the process of making the Clafouti. But that’s beside the point.) The batter, though not what it was supposed to be, served as a good break from the sweet taste. There was an almost perfect balance between the bland and sweetness of it.
I guess I can sum up this experience up with an old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” That could never be more prevalent than at this moment.