1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp water
¼ vanilla bean, split in half
¾ lb fresh pitted cherries
1 ½ tbsp brandy
1 ¾ - (4 oz) sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
2 ⅓ cups almond flour
3 tbsp plus 1 ¾ tsp cornstarch
2 ½ whole eggs
¾ cup pistachios, crushed
Nothing is more cheerful than a summer cherry dessert. In Ruben’s interpretation of this classic French delight, he cooks the cherries in brandy to intensify their flavor. He makes the clafoutis as a sponge cake, which complements the cherries as well as the brandy. In the following recipe and at the restaurant, we use 5-ounce crème brûlée ramekins about ½-inch deep, which can be found at your local gourmet kitchen supply store. Alternatively, you can make this in two 10-inch shallow ceramic tart molds; lengthen the baking time to 45 to 50 minutes.
To prepare topping: Combine sugar, water and vanilla bean in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat. Bring to a boil and leave boiling until the sugar dissolves and the mixture obtains a thick syrupy consistency. Add the cherries and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the brandy. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Allow it to completely cool. Strain, discard liquid and set cooked cherries aside.
To make batter: Place butter and sugar in a bowl of stand-up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the almond flour and cornstarch, mix to combine, about 3 minutes. While on medium speed, slowly add eggs, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Continue to mix until light and fluffy. Transfer mixture to a piping bag.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly coat eight 5-ounce ramekins, or two 10-inch ceramic tart molds, with cooking spray and place on a sheet pan. Evenly pipe batter among ramekins, or molds, and evenly sprinkle crushed pistachio over batter, followed by sprinkling ¼ cup of cooked cherries into each ramekin. Evenly distribute cherries between large molds if using. Place in oven and bake until golden brown on top, about 28 to 30 minutes or as directed above. Remove from oven and serve warm.