I'm a huge fan of almost all the TV cooking shows and I'm a faithful devotee of ABC's The Taste. I never miss an episode. I love that the outcome is based more on taste than personality.
While watching The Taste I live tweet during the show and, after a segment involving sweets, asked Chef and Judge Ludo Lefebvre what his favorite dessert was and he tweeted me that it was his mom's Cherry Clafoutis. This struck a chord with me as clafoutis was a dessert I was very fond of while living in France, having enjoyed it often at family dinners with my then fiance. I love anything with cherries and clafoutis is loaded with lovely dark cherries.
A typical Cherry Clafoitis (or a flognarde if made with another fruit) is very much like a sweet fritatta or a custardy pancake and is made with eggs, butter, flour, sugar, fresh cherries, milk (and sometimes heavy cream), vanilla, a pinch of salt and often a splash of brandy. I took these ingredients as my starting point for flavoring my cocktail. A bit of cake, a bit of custard, a lot of cherry goodness and a French chef inspired this Cherry Clafoutis Martini.
I happen to like cocktails with egg whites in them, they bring a creamy texture and a beautiful, natural foamy top. Though eggs perform a slightly different role in a cocktail then they do in baking, in both cases they add richness to the end product. So, instead of pulling out the mixing bowls and doing my mise en place to bake a Cherry Clafoutis, I pulled out the cocktail shaker and lined up the bar tools and booze to shake a Cherry Clafoutis!
Combine all the ingredients except the Maraschino cherries in a blender and blend for a few seconds to emulsify the egg into the cocktail.
Pour this into an ice filled cocktail shaker and shake until chilled. Allow the drink to settle for a minute or two then pour into your chilled martini glass. Slide a Maraschino cherry onto the rim and enjoy!
Makes two 4 ounce cocktails or (in my single woman case) one big martini!
* Since it's February (National Cherry Month!) cherries are out of season here in Arizona so I used some lovely cherry concentrate from Benjamin Twiggs to make my dark cherry juice. Though I prefer fresh, using a concentrate allowed me to keep the juice a little thicker and more tart which I really liked with the egg white.
Dark Rum is interesting in that it has a heavy vanilla nose so it was a perfect base liquor for the vanilla cake and custard notes of the dessert. The Pinnacle Whipped Cherry vodka brings in some creamy flavor and added cherry punch. The Kirsch (a cherry flavored brandy), along with the cherry juice and cherry vodka, bring in the brandy and cherry elements. I popped up the sweetness with some simple syrup and the half and half substitutes for the milk in the baked recipe. The egg white gives the cocktail it's body and the bitters curtail the sweetness while adding a deeper vanilla undertone to the rum. I added the splash of maraschino liqueur at the end on a whim and it tied in the garnish very nicely.
I did a full afternoon of experimental mixology and was a little blitzed by the time I got the recipe worked out, but it was worth it. I put Cherry Clafoutis in a glass and added a little buzz. It was a good day of baking shaking!
Merci, Chef Ludo, thanks for the inspiration, vous êtes mon préféré célèbre chef!