Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Season of Cherries

I came back from BlogHer Food in Atlanta Sunday afternoon. I wish I had a detailed report for you guys, but the truth is that I really was unable to attend most events and festivities. It was great to catch up with friends and also finally meet those who I have come to know through blogging.

Tami, Stephanie and I spoke in the visuals panel where we discussed our own evolutions and philosophy when finding our voices and styles. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I think we could have gone on for another few hours had we been given the time. There were lots of questions and positive feedback and I happened to learn lots myself.

As soon as I walked in the door, I remembered the large bowl of cherries I left in the refrigerator before I left. I was in desperate need of something refreshing and light. I dropped my bags and started slicing fennel, cucumber and spring onions. Also added some pitted cherries and made a quick vinaigrette with apple cider vinegar.

It hit the spot.

"Where are you guys?" I texted C. "Still swimming" he replied.

Then I knew I would have time for a quick dessert for dinner and perhaps, even a nap.

I turned to this gluten and dairy free cherry and cardamom custard I had made a few days before. Somewhere in between a clafoutis and a flan, this custard is made with coconut and almond milk that are flavored with vanilla bean, lemon zest, and cardamom. I loved it the first time I made it and I knew everyone would enjoy it again.

Once it came out of the oven, I took Miren to my bed and whispered "We are going lo-lo". She understood and immediately closed her eyes.

I needed that.

Jon was excited to have his sister back. "I missed her amatxu!" he acknowledged. He picked up a bowl of the cherry cardamom custard and proceeded to tell me all about his weekend.

There are never enough words when you are 4 years old...

Almost 5.

Cherry and Cardamom Custard

1 pound (450 g) bing cherries, pitted
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) coconut milk
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) almond milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
4 cardamom pods, cracked
4 eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs (125 g) natural cane sugar
1/2 cup (70 g) superfine brown rice flour
1/4 cup (40 g) potato starch
2 Tbs (12 g) almond flour
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 425F. Grease a 9" pie or cake pan. Pit the cherries and arrange them in the pan.

In a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk, almond milk, vanilla bean and seeds, and cardamom pods. Bring to a light simmer, turn heat off, and let it steep for 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, brown rice flour, potato starch, almond flour, and salt. Place a fine sieve on top of the bowl. Pour the warm milk mixture over the eggs so that the strainer catches the pods and vanilla bean. Whisk all ingredients together. Skim any foam that might have formed on the surface and pour the custard over the cherries.

Bake at 425F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake another 25-30 minutes until center set.

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