I have to admit I first heart and tried clafoutis (pronounced cla-foo-tee) few days ago. I don’t know how, but I’ve been somehow missing to encounter this simple traditional French dessert. It’s quite difficult to define it – not quite a cake or a custard, not exactly a flan or a pudding, something like sweet frittata or fruit stuffed pop-up. I guess it is going to be good warm in a stormy winter evening, but right now, stuffed with plenty of fresh ripe cherries and well chilled was just perfect. Refreshing and so comforting – it is my new favorite summer dessert.
Here is what I’ve found about clafoutis while searching more info about them: the French villagers were preparing this dessert with wild cherries together with their incredibly aromatic pits, or at least that’s what I read. The cherries I used were not wild, and I removed the pits, because the last thing I want when eating a dessert is stress. Although I can see why they avoided this step – I depitted the juicy ripe cherries with a sharp knife and without gloves and my hands turned red-blue (don’t forget to have an apron on, too). As a remedy for the missing pits try adding a bit of almond extract or use amaretto instead of brandy.
Clafoutis can be prepared with other fresh fruits, like peaches, raspberries, grapes, plums or even apples, but in that case it is called “flognarde”.
Prep and baking time: 30-35 minutes
300g cherries – pits removed* 3 large eggs 100g confectioners’ sugar 200ml whole milk 2 tbsp Amaretto or brandy 90g all-purpose flour
Some vanilla sugar for dusting
*Measure them without the pits or put not more than 1/3 of the volume of the ramekins. My ramekin capacity is 150ml.
Prepare the cherries first – cut every fruit in two and remove the pits, or use a cherry pitter. Put the cherries in a bowl and cover with the Amaretto.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter 6 ramekins and dust with some vanilla sugar.
Beat the eggs with the sugar, until the mix gets lighter and doubles in volume. Add half of the milk and sift the flour over the mixture. Blend with a mixer, adding slowly the rest of the milk and the liquid from the soaked cherries. The mixture has to be smooth pancake-like batter.
Distribute the cherries in the ramekins and top with the batter. Do not fill the ramekins more than ¾ of the volume. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until clafoutis rises and gets a nice golden brown color. Cool in the ramekins for 15 minutes and then refrigerate it.
Before serving unmold, running a sharp knife over the board of the ramekin and dust with some vanilla sugar.
Some notes: In the oven this dessert behaves just like a pop-up or soufflé – it rises all of a sudden, until still quite liquid and if overfilling the ramekins this can provoke spilling. 5 to 10 minutes after taking them out of the oven, clafoutis will inevitably fall like soufflés.
I also tried baking a variation with more chopped fruit, but went back to the original ratio, since it did not work very well – fruit particles break the structure of the clafoutis.