In early summer, cherries come into season here in Washington State and we always celebrate with new cherry recipes. The clafouti is one of our favorites, and this year we've added a new clafouti. Fresh Bing cherries steeped in Amaretto almond liqueur then baked in a rich batter held in a buttery shortbread crust.
Heat the oven to 350. In a bowl, combine the flour, powdered sugar and melted butter and stir to combine and make a dough.
Using your fingers pat the dough into the bottom of a 9" round non-stick tart pan with removable bottom. Use a paring knife to trim the excess pastry from the edge of the tart pan. Save the pastry crumbs. Prick the crust all over with a fork to help keep the crust from rising while baking. Another great technique is to put a sheet of parchment on the dough and add some pie weights.
Par-bake the crust just until it is set and just starts to brown, about 10 minutes.
Place the cherries in a glass bowl or plastic container. Don't use a metal bowl as it will react with the liqueur. Pour in the Amaretto liqueur and toss the cherries. Let the cherries steep in the liqueur for at least one hour at room temperature or covered in the fridge overnight.
Heat the oven to 375.
Add the flour, salt and sugar to a mixing bowl. With the mixer running, add the whole eggs, egg yolks milk and cream and blend on low speed. Cut the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the batter, or pour in the vanilla extract. Mix the batter again to incorporate the vanilla.
Drain the cherries from the liqueur, Reserve the liqueur for making cocktails and sauces. Arrange the cherries in a single layer in the shortbread crust.
Pour the batter over the cherries up to about ¼" from the rim of the tart pan. Using the trimmed pastry crust, and sprinkle the bits over the cherries and batter. The pastry crumbs help thicken the batter during baking and add texture to the top of the clafouti. Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top or the cherries.
Bake the clafouti in the oven until the top is browned and the custard is set, about 40 minutes. Remove the clafouti from the oven and place on a cookie rack. Let the clafouti cool 10 minutes, then unmold from the outer tart shell ring. Cool before serving.
When the clafouti is cooled to room temperature, dust with powdered sugar and cut into slices. Serve the clafouti with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.