Let’s kiss cherries goodbye for the season with one last hurrah!
A clafoutis is a classic French dessert hailing from the Limousin region, a sweet custard base over fresh fruit. The resulting product is somewhere between a flan and a pancake or Dutch baby flecked with juicy fruit. The center is dense and creamy like a flan but the edges are puffy and the top is golden-brown like a Dutch baby. Cherries are traditional, but you can really use any fruit you like-berries, peaches, plums or apples.
This batter contains butter, which is a bit unusual but much needed. It would be too eggy without the butter, tasting more of an omelet than a sweet dessert. It also helps prevent the texture from being too rubbery, instead resulting in a soft, set custard that gladly yields to a fork. I recently saw a clafoutis recipe made with tons of heavy cream, which sounds very necessary for me to try with the remaining cherries I have in the refrigerator.
The traditional version contains unpitted cherries because the pits impart a slight almond flavor to the dish from the amygdalin contained in the pits (the same chemical in almond extract). I say let’s just add almond extract and save our teeth, but if you’re a purist, feel free to leave them! Here’s the cherry pitter I use and love…it makes it so easy!
This is best served slightly warm or at room temperature with a big dollop of whipped cream. If you have any left over, refrigerate it and heat it gently in the microwave until warm. It makes a great breakfast!
A traditional French dessert of sweet custard flecked with juicy cherries, baked until golden brown!
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus extra for greasing the baking dish
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (130 grams) all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 2 teaspoons Kirsch, brandy or rum, optional
- 2 cups (250 grams) sweet cherries, preferably pitted
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting if desired
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream (preferably flavored with almond extract!), for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Lightly grease a 9- or 10-inch round baking dish or cake pan with softened butter. Set aside.
- Combine the sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk for about 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture has lightened slightly in color. Slowly whisk in the butter until incorporated. Add the flour and salt and fold into the batter until fully combined. Gradually add the milk, whisking it in after each addition. Add the almond extract and liquor, if using, mixing until the batter is very smooth.
- Place the cherries in the bottom of the prepared baking dish and pour the batter over the fruit. Generously sprinkle the top with granulated sugar. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned and the batter is almost completely set in the middle. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving to allow the custard to set and cool slightly. Cut into wedges. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired and serve with whipped cream.
Inspiration: Cherry Clafoutis on smittenkitchen.com