RECIPE: Clafouti

COFFEE: Turkish coffee, Haiti-Blue Forest

SERVES: 6 People

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Green parks and leafy trees probably aren’t the first two things that come to mind when people think of Philadelphia. But despite this city’s gritty reputation, founder William Penn intended Philadelphia to be a “green countrie town,” laying out a grid of buildings divided by open spaces to prevent fires from spreading and to encourage farm production. Today the city preserves its five historic parks (which are called “squares”) as well as Fairmount Park, one of the largest and oldest municipally operated park systems in the country: 9200 acres spread out into 63 neighborhood parks. And green efforts went on—and continue to go on—at every scale. In the early 20th century, Italian immigrants set up a patchwork of tiny kitchen gardens and today you’ll still find community gardens in the most unlikely places.

Four years ago I joined in by planting two cherry trees on an 8 X 10 strip outside my kitchen door, and this year, I did my first picking. It’s hard for me to believe that my trees were once so small I could transport both of them in a station wagon because today, they’re monsters. Maybe it’s proof that the conditions are just right or that the soil is rich (when I was planting, I unearthed some shells, remnants of the old riverfront shipping businesses, the reason my neighborhood is called Fishtown). Whatever it is, the trees are so happy there and picking cherries off trees that once fit in a station wagon has been really rewarding. All the work has paid off—in buckets.

6 extra large eggs
1 ¼ cups milk
½ cup sugar
2/3 cup all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon lemon zest (finely grated)
½ teaspoon ground Turkish coffee
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups pitted cherries
Garnish: Powdered sugar, as desired

Preheat oven to 400 F.

1. Place 10 inch cast iron skillet in oven for about 3 minutes, just to take the chill off the pan, and then place over medium low heat.

2. Whisk eggs together in large mixing bowl. Add milk, sugar, brandy, extract, lemon zest, brewed coffee and salt, whisking vigorously until fully incorporated (can also be done in a blender). Set aside.

3. Place butter in the warm skillet, letting it melt and swirling the pan to coat the interior, including the cooking surface as well as the sides. Scatter the berries over the bottom of the pan and pour the batter over top, using your fingers to readjust the berries if the batter pushes them around.

4. Bake in reheated oven for 25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the center is set. Remove from oven and set aside to set for 20 minutes before serving. Dust liberally with powdered sugar, then slice and serve right out of the skillet.

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