Raymond has been dipping his toe in the mass market for a while with limited success; there was this muesli that tasted of dust, then there were the recently launched fish dishes - I tried the fish pie, it was pretty darn good but I haven’t been able to find it since and there is no mention of it on Raymond’s website so can only assume that the range has been discontinued. There is the ever present Maison Blanc range, (which seems to keep pootling along in spite of dubious quality) and I learnt from the comment section on one of my blogs that Raymond has little to do with that these days and messy divorce proceedings means that the business is now in the hands of his ex wife. So Raymond doesn’t appear to have conquered the ready made market. Not a man to be defeated he recently launched a range of frozen desserts that is stocked in Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, he tweeted about it a lot at the time of the launch but has gone a bit quiet since – presumably he’s waiting to see how it goes down.
The range consists of three desserts, a pear and walnut dacquoise, a chocolate delice (I’ve got one in the freezer) and the cherry clafoutis that I’m writing about today. I took it out of the box and baked it for 35 mins, it came out looking golden and delicious and extremely appetising. The box makes a bold claim that it could serve 6-8 people which is one of the biggest piss takes ever made by a frozen dessert, in reality this pudding can only feed half that amount and I reckon if you were hungry two people could get through it quite happily.
It was a two man job with left overs that I was going for when I baked it and presented one bowl of sloppy, creamy batter dotted with Griotte cherries to Naomi (my girlfriend) and another bowl to me. Naomi took one tiny mouthful and announced “This tastes sour, like UHT milk and factories and I don’t like it all.” and then left the rest. To be fair I knew exactly what she meant and it wasn’t an incorrect description – but I wasn’t going to be put off so easily and persevered. Once I’d got over that initial UHT flavour I started enjoying myself and actually found it quite delicious. The helping of Griotte cherries was very generous considering that the price of a punnet costs roughly the same as a small Vietnamese village and the whole clafoutis (with introductory offer) was only £3.80. The batter was smooth and unctuous and I had possibly undercooked it a bit, but when coupled with the sour burst of delicious cherries it was a pudding I was happy to devour.
The box says that it is best served warm and after eating mine and Naomi’s portion I let the left overs go cold and nibbled at them over the next few days. It was still pretty good, but only for eating the bits that had been undercooked when warm, the correctly cooked bits had turned into a rubbery lump that was like eating window sealant with cherries. The cherries were still great though.
I think Naomi made a mistake giving up so early, if she’d pushed through and got over her initial UHT fears a world of cherry wonderment lay in store.
Raymond Blanc Cherry Clafoutis £3.80 for 500g (introductory offer price)