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Cherry Amandine (Almond baked custard with fresh cherries)

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Origin:  I have been asked to write the centre spread this month for the Food and Wine Mercury insert which hits the streets on Wednesday the 26th October.  My idea was that Cherries and Asparagus would be great subject matter, as mid November is the annual Ficksburg Cherry Festival. Vauno did the front cover as usual and the photo’s that will accompany the recipes.

A group of us visited the Festival a few years ago and had a great time. The Free State is really like another country, and I swear if they asked you for passports at the Golden Gate Entrance it would make pure sense!

The people are friendly, hospitable, and peaceful. There don’t seem to be many worries or stresses to deal with, with exception I suppose to the birds eating your prize cherry crop.

It is one of those weekends that you need to do at least once with a group of people who enjoy slow food. Time is best spent wandering the beautiful countryside, sampling local fare and just smelling the cherry blossoms.

This year’s harvest has not started yet and so my assignment was a little more challenging than I had anticipated.

Fresh is always better, however I had to use tinned for this easy dish!
Really takes five minutes to make, and reminds me of my Gran’s baked custard with cherries in the place of those big fat yellow raisins. I used ground almonds to give it a frangipane twist.

Cherry Amandine (Almond baked custard with fresh cherries)

(Serves 6-8 people)

500 g fresh pitted black cherries, or two tins of cherries, drained                         4 eggs

100 g softened butter                                                                                                     100 g ground almonds

100 g light brown sugar                                                                                                  5ml vanilla essence

100 g mascarpone cream

Method:

  1.  Preheat oven to 180oC.
  2.  Using an electric beater, cream the butter, sugar, ground almonds, and vanilla essence together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one by one until well mixed.
  4. Add the mascarpone cream.
  5. Divide the mixture between 6-8 individual ramekins or use a quiche or flan dish.
  6. Divide the cherries between the ramekins or the flan dish.
  7. Bake the individual ramekins for 20 – 25 minutes or the flan dish for 40 – 45 minutes until the dessert is set and golden brown.
  8. Dust with icing sugar and chopped nuts, and serve with vanilla ice-cream or custard.
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  1. We ate this scrumptious tasting dessert last night at Lisa’s home – what an incredible taste – the baked custard was light and the ground almonds were just what it needed – wonderful dessert for any supper dish/xmas feast!

    October 17, 2011

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