- 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 3 cups pitted fresh sweet cherries or thawed, drained frozen cherries
- 1 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups half-and-half
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Butter a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Place the baking dish on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the bottom of the dish with 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar. Spread the cherries in the bottom of the dish and bake for 10 minutes. There may be a lot of juice; do not drain. Set aside.
- While the cherries are cooking, in a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs with 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar until blended, about 1 minute. Add the flour mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the half-and-half in 1 addition. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and stir to combine.
- Pour the batter over the cherries. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the top with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.
- Any variety of cherry is fine to use, though I tend to prefer Bing, Queen Anne or Rainier — the sweeter the better. Make sure to remove the stems and then pit them using a pitter. If you are really in a hurry, you can use frozen pitted cherries, but thoroughly defrost and drain them first.
- The recipe can be served directly from an ovenproof baking dish, or you can cook it and serve it from any nonstick gratin dish or cast iron skillet that gives it a casual homey touch.
- Use this recipe as a template for other seasonal fruits, such as apricots, peaches, plums, apples or pears.
Serves 6 to 8 people.