hadham cherries little hadham stores

I have a cherry tree in my garden.  It looks lovely in the spring covered in blossom, but we never get a single cherry from it as they are all eaten by the birds long before they turn red.  A few years ago, opposite my friend Charlie’s house in Much Hadham, somebody started planting cherry trees and I must say from my personal experience I was sceptical.

But the week before last, through one of the farms I am working with on Little Hadham Stores, I met that someone and he had cherries galore.  Christopher and his brother have grown gorgeous, juicy, sweet cherries that beg to be eaten by the kilo.  They have leased the 13 acres that they've planted with 7000 young cherry trees, that have just started to come into fruit now, and they also grow apricots and brew beer.  Good guys to know.

cherry orchard

They use sustainable farming methods as much as possible, mulching instead of using herbicides, organic fertilisers, and sourcing organic based pesticides.  They keep bees on the farm to help with pollination.  Judging from the growth of fruiting buds in the orchard at the back end of last season and all of this season they have high hopes for the coming two years of production, which should make up for this year.

With a young orchard and short season, they’re not producing the quantities needed to fulfil the supermarket minimum orders.  Which has been a wonderful bounty for us locals.  I’ve been selling Hadham Cherries through Little Hadham Stores, and the Farmers’ Market and they are delicious.

Most of them simply get washed and eaten fresh, but I managed to save a few that were given to me as they were a little over ripe and I have made one of our absolute favourite desserts; Cherry Clafoutis.  Now I am no great baker, but this is a pretty fool proof and absolutely delicious dessert.  The most fiddly bit is getting the stones out of the fresh cherries.

For this I used a paperclip having googled it, and after a couple to tries I really did find it as simple as it seems in the video.

I originally found the recipe in Raymond Blanc's, Foolproof French Cookery.  I tend to play pretty fast a loose with precise amounts, as long as the flour to egg to milk/cream ratio is about right.  Also, I don't like kirsch, so I use Cassis or Black Raspberry Chambord instead.

So, here's the recipe:

500g fresh cherries
2 tbl-spoons of golden caster sugar.
1 tbl-spoon Kirsch/Chambord/ Cassis

10g unsalted butter
3 tbl-spoons golden caster sugar

100g plain flour
pinch of salt
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
6 tbl-spoons golden caster sugar
vanilla extract
grated rind of a lemon
melted un salted butter
150 ml (1/4 pt) milk
150ml (1/4 pt) whipping cream
75g unsalted butter
grated dark chocolate optional

Oven should be set to about 180ºC/ 350ºF

1.  Stone the cherries and sprinkle sugar, Chambord and leave to stand.

2.  Take a ceramic or cast iron dish and coat the inside in the 10g of butter then sprinkle the 3 tbl-spoons of sugar over it so that it sticks to the butter

3.  To make the custard: pour the flour and salt into a large bowl, make a well and add the eggs and egg yolk.  Add the vanilla essence and lemon rind and combine.  Melt the butter and add to the mixture.  Then add the milk and whipped cream and whip together until you have a smooth batter.  Finally add the cherries and pour into the prepared dish.

As I’ve an Aga I cook mine in the baking oven on the bottom shelf with the cold shelf over the dish for about 35mins.  If by then it is beginning to brown but not set in the centre I move it to the bottom oven to finish.

Take the clafoutis out and serve warm with chocolate grated on top.  It is still lovely cold a day or two later.  Now, at this point a better blogger than I would have a wonderful picture of a completed clafoutis for you to wow over.  But, I had to get Louis to his music lesson and left it for Una to take out of the oven.  Which she forgot to do, distracted by her phone!  So it is a little browner than it should be, however, it still tasted great and as you can see we didn't have any problem eating it.

Back to Top