As I was perusing more of my grandfather’s cookbook, which I talked about earlier in the week, (Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, for those of you who haven’t read my most recent posts) I came across a recipe that looked delicious and easy to make: clafoutis. Clafoutis is a sort of like a flan filled with cherries and then baked. Typically it’s baked with fresh cherries, but since we aren’t yet in cherry season, it’s fine to make it with canned, pitted cherries, according to Julia’s recipe notes.
Clafoutis originated in the Limousin region of central France. Look at this place:
Lovely! So are the limousin cows we now raise in Texas that are from this region, as well as the region’s delectable cherries.
I decided that I’d make this dessert to bring a bit of summer sunshine into my chilly kitchen this morning.
I used readily available canned, pitted Montmorency cherries from my grocery store. Two cans, drained, gave me exactly three cups of cherries; perfect for the recipe.
Interestingly, many chefs use unpitted cherries in their clafoutis, saying that they give much more flavor to the dessert. However, in reality, I’d rather not have to spit out pits after each bite of dessert, so I used pitted cherries.
Here’s the recipe:
found in Mastering The Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
Julia’s notes: The clafouti (also spelled with a final “s” in both singular and plural), which is traditional in the Limousin during the cherry season, is peasant cooking for family meals, and about as simple a dessert to make as you can imagine: a pancake batter poured over fruit in a fireproof dish, then baked in the oven. It looks like a tart, and is usually eaten warm.
- 3 cups pitted black cherries
- 1¼ cups milk
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 Tb vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- ½ cup flour (scooped and leveled)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- Powdered sugar in a shaker or small sifter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a baking dish. (I used a 8.5″ round ceramic tart pan)
Place the milk, 1/3 cup sugar, the eggs, vanilla, salt, and flour in your blender jar in the order in which they are listed. Cover and blend at top speed for 1 minute.
Pour a ¼-inch layer of batter in the baking dish or pie plate. Set over moderate heat (in heated oven or on warm burner) for a minute or two until a film of batter has set in the bottom of the dish. Remove from heat. Spread the cherries over the batter and sprinkle on 1/3 cup sugar. Pour on the rest of the batter and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
Place in middle position of preheated oven and bake for about an hour. The clafoutis is done when it has puffed and browned, and a needle or knife plunged into its center comes out clean. Sprinkle top of clafoutis with powdered sugar just before bringing it to the table. (The clafoutis need not be served hot, but should still be warm. It will sink down slightly as it cools.
MamaSteph’s notes: I found that when the clafoutis is completely cooled, it is sweeter. I tend to think that “pancake-like” is not a totally accurate descriptor of the batter. It’s more custard- or flan-like. When baked, it is creamy, mosit, holds together like flan, and the cherries squirt their juices into your mouth when you bite into them. It’s a perfect combination, and truly, it couldn’t be easier to make, and it’s fast. Try it when you have guests coming for dinner! You could substitute other fruits, as well, at which point the dessert is no longer called clafoutis, but flaugnarde. Have several ready for company, so there will be something that everyone likes. Try it with apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, or various summer berries like blackberries or raspberries. You could do a mixed fruit flaugnarde, as well. That would be beautiful!
As Julia would say, Bon Appétit! 🙂