Sour Cherry Clafoutis, in the French Style

Clafoutis, pronounced clah-foo-tee is a traditional French dessert from the Limousin region largely located in south-central France’s Massif Central, a place of mountains and plateaus with a volcanic past; this (mostly) rural region is one of the least populated in France. The clafoutis is a delicious baked concoction—is it a cake? Is it a pudding?1 is typically made with sweet cherries, but is amenable to other fruits, including sour cherries.

Limousin

And what of this “French Style” stuff? It simply means that you leave the pits IN the cherries. In other words, no need to whip out the cherry pitter! The French contend that leaving the pits in generates better flavor and the pits do contribute a subtle almond essence. You can certainly remove the pits from the cherries and this recipe will still be delicious (and your guests will probably thank you!) If you do leave them in, though, it would be a nice idea to warn your guests and to supply them with pit bowls into which they can spit out the stones.

This recipe is adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table, a worthy addition to anyone’s cookbook collection.

What You’ll Need

  • 9- or 10-inch deep-dish pie plate or a similarly sized baking dish
  • medium bowl
  • whisk
  • measuring cups, both liquid and solid
  • measuring spoons
  • cherry pitter (optional)
  • small sieve or strainer for sprinkling powdered sugar

Ingredients

  • butter for greasing baking dish
  • 1 pound sour cherries, stems removed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract, (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • powdered sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Making the Clafoutis

  1. READ THE RECIPE
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (~180°C)
  3. Grease your baking dish with the butter very well.
  4. Place the cherries in the bottom of your baking dish. Put them in a single layer.
  5. Crack the eggs into the bowl and whisk until they are very thoroughly mixed.
  6. Add the sugar to the eggs and whisk well so that eggs and sugar are solidly incorporated together. Then whisk in the vanilla and almond extracts (if using both; otherwise just whisk in the vanilla). Whisk in the salt.
  7. Add the flour to your egg-sugar mixture and whisk until the flour is incorporated and the batter is smooth.
  8. Pour the milk into the mixture while whisking. Do NOT add the milk all at once—just pour it in slowly enough that you can incorporate it gradually.
  9. Pour in the half-and-half while whisking.
  10. Pour the batter into your baking dish. Just pour it over the cherries, but don’t worry if they aren’t all covered with batter.
  11. Bake in the center of your oven for about 40 minutes (but start checking after 35 minutes). The clafoutis is finished when a very thin knife or a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  12. Cool on a rack until it is room temperature. Sprinkle with the powdered sugar before serving.

    1. 250px-Clafoutis3
      This image is courtesy of Wikipedia, contributed by Rotem Danzig. The last time I made clafoutis, it was for a dinner party and I didn’t want to interrupt proceedings and guests! When I make clafoutis again, I will take a picture and replace this one, which does look similar to mine, although I didn’t halve any cherries; this one also seems to use sweet cherries.
      1Initially, L’Acad&#233mie Fran&#231aise (they are the arbiters of the French language) called the clafoutis a “fruit flan”, which annoyed the Limousin populace. It was finally declared a cake.

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