Cherry-Almond Gratin.. and a Few Updates

I’m going to let you in on a little secret but ..shhhh… keep it for yourself. I’m working with a web-designer to make this blog bigger, better and badder. Yes, finally! Hopefully the new design will be ready to be unveiled by the end of August. It won’t be anything too drastic for the simple reason that.. err.. I’m cheap! Let’s just say there will be more room to stretch your legs and yes… i’m still thinking about adding a bowling alley and a 24/7 convenience store. I don’t know if it will fit though.

In the meantime, a few thank you:

  • First thanks to Redcook for passing on the Arte award to this humble blog. Make sure to visit his blog, he’s the uncontested expert on everything Chinese and a fantastic writer as well. Take it from a Gwai lo who knows his char sui bow. Now I’m not sure what I am suppose to do with the award. Can I make a fashion statement by wearing it around my neck like flavor flav’? The best part of receiving an award of course is to pass it on to 5 other blogs. Here are a few blogs i enjoy. Colloquial Cookin’ by my fabulous friend Claire in Paris. Project Trattoria by Uncle Dee in Singapore, just discovered his blog and i love it already. Azcookbook by Farida because i simply love her blog. Food makes me happy by Cindy because well… food makes her happy! Patissier Journey by breadpitt.. just look at his fabulous creations!

  • I would like also to thank Rob-bot the BBQ Chef for not breaking my nose after I told him his recipe was held hostage. I don’t think he understood my sense of humor though. Oh well! He refused to pay the ransom so I guess the precious BBQ sauce recipe is now officially mine. Mine MINE!!.. Muargharghargh..
  • Thanks also to Emily for picking up some sour cherries from me last week and for kindly giving me some sour cherry soup in exchange. It was delicious. Thank you. And DoggyBloggy, i’ve got a bag waiting for you my friend.
  • To all of you my dearest friends for stopping by once in a while and… err… what’s all this noise??..

(picture stolen from here and adapted by the zen-man)

Now that’s just great! I’m trying to be all nice and stuff and that’s what I get? Geez!! Fine!..

(I’m not ready to blog about sour cherries yet but here are some bing cherries from Big Bossman’s gardens…)

Cherry-Almond Gratin
(adapted from The Paris Cookbook by Patricia Wells)

  • 2 pounds fresh cherries, rinsed, stemmed, and pitted
  • 1 tablespoon kirsch (cherry eau-de-vie)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • The Almond Cream:
  • 1 cup finely ground almonds
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Several drops of kirsch (optional)
  • Several drops of almond extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting the gratin

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Butter the baking dish. Set it aside.

3. In a large, heavy skillet, combine the cherries, kirsch, and sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes. Transfer the cherries to the prepared baking dish and set aside.


4. Prepare the almond cream: in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the whisk, combine the almonds and butter. Whisk, blending until smooth. Add the eggs, cream, and confectioners’ sugar and whisk until thick, smooth, and well blended. Add the kirsch, if using, and the almond extract, mixing to blend. Pour the cream over the cherries in the baking dish.


5. Place the baking dish in the center of the oven and bake until the gratin is firm and deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cool
6. Dust the gratin lightly with confectioners’ sugar and serve in wedges, warm or at room temperature. This dessert is best served just a few hours after it is prepared.

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  • Peter M

    Zen, I would expect a Frenchman to incorporate at least a “salle du fumee”, non?

    Your cherry dessert reminds me alot of a clafoutis or is it a little different? Reegardless, a wedge for me – non, deux!

  • April in CT

    Are those Rainier cherries I see in there? I certainly hope not because they’re my favorite and trying to pick them off my screen to eat is proving fruitless (har, har).

    Beautiful dessert!

  • Adam

    The dessert looks amazing dude. I love cherries and almonds like I love money… I just don’t have any right now.

    Congrats on the award, and don’t forget to get a neon sign for your bowling alley. ‘Zen Alley’ or something.

  • Ann

    Cherries are damned sexy and your gratins are gorgeous.

    So the new place… will we be able to order dinner for delivery? :-)

  • acey

    zenman, i am in love with you! lol. this looks great, i’m gonna borrow this recipe and start looking for cherries! :)

  • Clumbsy Cookie

    I can’t wait for the new website! I really need some extra space to strech my self, now that I’ve gain a few pounds just by looking at this gorgeous gratin you made!

  • John R.

    Omg that looks so good. I’m a huge cherry fan… I’ll definitely have to make that sometime

  • Uncle Dee

    this is crazy, i don’t really make desserts but the cherry almond gratin is making me change my mind.. ahh you know what i will make this! i will post it up my site so you believe me

  • Chicopea

    oh i can’t wait for the new site, how exciting:) you are too funny with the char sui bow. Note to self: no more talking crap about Zen in chinese kekeke

    Nice gratin!

  • My Sweet & Saucy

    What a great dessert for this time of year! Can’t wait to see your new site too!

  • Kirstin

    Beautiful. How do you think it would taste with raspberries, and can I pair it with Sauternes?

  • cakebrain

    you crack me up…
    and your cherry almond gratin makes me hungry! i love those pics! cherries and almond are so perfect together!

  • Zen Chef

    Oui monsieur Peter, un ‘fumoir’ would be a great addition to this blog. Thanks for the suggestion. haha.

    April, it’s a combination of bing and rainier cherries. Double the fun! :-)

    Adam, thanks! A neon is exactly what i need for the new blog. hahaha

    Ann, hmm.. I think i’ve done my share with dessert bars!! I’m still traumatized you know.

    Acey, really? Waow… i’m blushing now. hehe.

    Rita, yes extra leg room! You don’t even get that in airplanes these days! :-)

    John R. Thanks you for all your kind comments. Try it and let me know what you think!

    Uncle Dee. I DEMAND the proof you made it! haha. Now handover that bruschetta!!

    Chicopea, i think was Chinese in a past life. You should see my ability with a chinese cleaver. hahaha

    My Sweet & Saucy. It is very seasonal indeed!

    Kirstin. I think it would be great with raspberries. And Sauternes, oui biensur!.. My favorite wine! (I know i’ve got expensive taste :)

    Thank you Cakebrain, it’s a great combo! :-)

  • glamah16

    I cant wait to see the new bigger and badder Zen!I’ll make you some fruit leather pants for your house/blog warming.

  • Jenny

    We’ll all look forward to the new site and especially the bowling ally, cool!!

    Your little cherry gratin look heavenly, maybe you could make these along with your lasagna on the Bachelor, huh? You’d be a shoe in!

  • Shreya

    Good luck with your new site.. the cherry-almond gratin looks really great.. :-)

  • White On Rice Couple

    I can’t wait to see your new site! It’s gonna be so bad ass, I can tell already! Just don’t do what we did and crash your blog….twice! We’re still trying to recover right now.

    Congrats on your award. It’s beautiful gratin dishes like these that keep us all coming back for more.

  • Bethany

    Congrats on the award…You’re my favorite food blogger! I looove cherries! luckily i’ve been able to escape gloomy london for a few weeks now and have been enjoying fresh cherries in the provence every morning for Bfast (cherry in my mouth as we speak)! Going to get on with it now into the kitchen to make this! Looking forward to the new website :)

  • The Caked Crusader

    My first thought was “this is a clafoutis”. No, I lie. My first thought was “I want some – now!”.
    But then I read the recipe and saw the addition of almonds.
    Yum.
    I can give this no higher compliment than to say I am printing it off straight away and will make this weekend! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • doggybloggy

    zen you are too kind -

  • Nina’s Kitchen (Nina Timm)

    The trees on our snow pictures (previous post) are all cherry trees and in December they will all be filled with lots of cherries. I’ll bookmark this recipe.

  • Gloria

    Zen, this is really yummy and look perfectly! I love cherries! Gloria

  • Loulou

    I’ve always wanted to make that recipe. I love your version of it!
    Merci chef!

  • Becky

    so pretty! cherries and almonds go so well together.

  • cakewardrobe

    Gwai lo – I’m having your Prawn Ravioli for lunch today. Awesome recipe!!! When are you going to start personal deliveries though?

  • Cindy. Lo.

    Oh my, I got an award!!?!
    ((tears rolling down my eyes))
    And I get to pick 5 more blogs to pass on the honor, how wonderful!
    What can I say?
    Food makes me happy!! Zen man makes me happy too!

  • Mike of Mike’s Table

    I also thought this was a clafoutis, but now I see its not, which is a nice change and it looks awesome, so being a rabid cherry fan, I’ll have to try this out ASAP. Also, congrats on the awards and can’t wait to see the new look on the site!

  • doggybloggy

    I got some cherries I got some cherries…ZEN you rock…now lets see If I can rock some cherries…10 pounds of rocking…. plus some salad and some beets and some greens – kale I think.

  • Joy the Baker

    Nothing is wrong with a little stretching room! I dig your gratin. The picture with just the cherries in the dishes is killer.

  • Y

    Looks lovely. Can’t wait to see what you do with the sour cherries.

  • Mary Coleman

    How divine!

  • Elle

    Zen, I’ve been looking for something exactly like this, so thanks for the timely post. And now get outta my head! There’s some private stuff in there, ok? ;)

    Can’t wait to see the new place!

  • T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types

    Fantastic – just simple, beautiful ingredients (a touch of booze) and voila! Cherry season is so brief – so I might try this gratin with other fruits, too.

  • Emiline

    I guess we’ll have to say good-bye to my sad lil’ header, huh?
    Aw, that’s okay. Here’s to bigger and better thing!

    The gratin looks wonderful.

  • daphne

    oh my goodness. U hv been busy haven’t u!!

  • Colloquial Cook

    Thank you Zen! J’ai hâte de voir ton nouveau blog avec son bowling et ses néons rétros. Si tu cherches une waitress en patins à roulettes avec des couettes pour l’ambiance, contacte moi ;-)

  • Kathleen

    I am always disappointed with the photos don’t show up.  Do you know how I can correct this?