Note: The recommended wine with this dish would be an Alsatian Riesling, such as Vendange Tardive.
Preheat the oven to 400 F and place a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Butter a 9-inch round baking dish or pie pan.
Prepare the batter:Place the almonds in a food processor and grind to a fine powder. If using vanilla beans, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the ground almonds (reserve the pod for another purpose). Add the sugar, flour, eggs, milk, cream and kirsch (and the vanilla extract, if not using a vanilla bean), and process with several pulses, just until blended. Transfer to a mixing bowl and let the batter rest for 10 minutes.
Arrange the cherries evenly on the bottom of the prepared baking dish and carefully pour the batter over them. Bake in the center of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the clafoutis is puffed up and golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Prepare the Champagne Sabayon:Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir in the Champagne, then pour into a double boiler over high heat. Vigorously whisk the mixture for 6 to 8 minutes, or until soft peaks form, the mixture turns light and airy, and is doubled in volume. Remove from the heat and place over a bowl of ice water. Continue whisking until the mixture is completely chilled.
Whisk the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the egg yolk mixture until smooth and incorporated. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Dust the clafoutis with the confectioners' sugar and serve warm or at room temperature with the Champagne Sabayon.
Serves 6 to 8.
Adapted from Chef Hubert Keller, Fleur de Lys, San Francisco