There was Larry, the winning bidder of a Food Lover’s Basket at a recent fundraising event for Project Angel Food. I was eyeing something a little more WOW, like the beauty basket which included botox services; I was outbid. The experience turned out OK, the basket had a pile of autographed cookbooks, biscotti, and a cooking class for two at Chef’s Inc. Corner of Veteran and Pico, we drive past on our way to practically everything; 10 years living here, this was our first time inside.
Larry selected a Friday “Date Night in Wine Country” cooking class taught by Chef and cookbook author Diane Brown; he had me at “wine country.” And “date night” helped.
You know, things can go several ways with a group that loves wine and knives. Big WHEW, our fellow classmates were as fun as the cooking, drinking and eating; more posts to come on this.
Chef Diane is known for “seduction cooking;” even her pink chef’s jacket was sassy. And what’s sexier than dessert first? She dispatched Larry to egg-cracking for Zinfandel Soaked Cherry Clafoutis [kla-foo-TEE], a flavor-packed, dense baked custard. Very French. Very wine-soaked. Very seductive. Very easy.
Zinfandel Soaked Cherry Clafoutis
by Chef Diane Brown, author of The Seduction Cookbook
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 1 cup Zinfandel
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup almonds, toasted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously butter a shallow 1 1/2 quart glass or ceramic baking dish. Place cherries and Zinfandel in a sauce pan, bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until wine is reduced and cherries are plump. Drain cherries and toss with cornstarch in a medium bowl. Arrange cherries in the bottom of prepared dish. Blend flour and almonds in a food processor until nuts are finely chopped. Whisk together eggs, salt and sugar in a large bowl to blend. Whisk in flour mixture. Add milk, butter, lemon peel, and vanilla and almond extracts; whisk until smooth. Pour over cherries. Bake clafoutis until set in center and golden on top, about 55 minutes. Cool slightly, sprinkle powdered sugar over and serve warm. Serves 8.