It’s cherry season! Cherry season doesn’t last long! Be sure to pick up some of these delightful fruits and impress with this super-simple recipe for Clafoutis: a “fancy” French dessert – cherries baked in a creamy, flan-like batter. You will wish cherry season lasted longer.
You’ll see similar recipes out there with other fruits in them besides cherries, but rightfully, cherries are the only Clafoutis. If other fruits are used, the dish is called “flaugnarde.” It is simple and beautiful and definitely delicious! I encourage you to make one this year during the much too short cherry season.
One of the reasons I’ve never posted Clafoutis before is that I have a very hard time every year resisting just eating the big bowls full of cherries I buy at the market. As a matter of fact, I have a very hard time even getting home with the big bags full of cherries in order to put them in a bowl! Usually, by the time I arrived at home, my fingers are stained bright red from reaching into the grocery bag, popping cherries into my mouth and disposing of the pits and stems.
This time, I bought a big enough bag that I had enough cherries for a Clafoutis. It takes about three cups of pitted cherries to make one. But there is some discussion as to whether to pit the cherries at all. Some recipes call for pitting them, some recipes say the pits add to the flavor, so you do as you wish.
For pitting the cherries, I use a paper clip. Yes, a paper clip! Just straighten the middle bend of the clip until you have an elongated “s” shape. Using the smaller end, starting at the stem end of the cherry, push the paper clip down into the cherry. You’ll feel it against the pit of the cherry, press the clip under the pit and with a scooping motion upward pull the pit out. Bing-o! You’ve pitted a cherry!
I’ve started with the recipe for Julia Child’s version of Clafoutis and very gently modified it. What I love about a Clafoutis is that it isn’t super-sweet. The flan-like batter perfectly highlights the tart/sweetness of the cherries, so I cut the amount of sugar used in her recipe, as well as when and where to add it. Also, she used vanilla in her recipe; I’ve used the more traditional brandy in mine. You use whichever you have on hand.
As I said, this is a very simple dessert. The batter can be mixed in either a food processor or a blender; it takes just minutes to whip together. Baked in a lightly buttered dish, the recipe is light and custard-like and I promise you, you will love it!
- 1¼ cups half & half (or heavy cream)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon Brandy (or vanilla)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups cherries, pitted
- 2 tablespoons sanding sugar (or granulated sugar, or turbinado sugar)
- powdered sugar (to garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Lightly butter a shallow 9" baking dish and set aside.
- Using a blender, or food processor, add the half & half, eggs, brandy (or vanilla), salt and flour. Pour a ¼ inch layer of the batter into the baking dish.
- Place the baking dish into the oven and bake the thin layer of batter for 5 minutes, until a film of batter sets in the pan.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven and arrange the cherries over the batter.
- Pour on the rest of the batter.
- Place the baking dish back into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven again and spread the top with the sanding sugar.
- Return the dish to the oven and continue to bake for another 30-35 minutes.
- The clafouti is done when puffed and brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar, serve warm.