I’ve always wanted to make a clafoutis, but never had until recently. Something about the name sounds so romantic to me (maybe because it’s French?), which is odd considering this is really quite an easy, homestyle dessert.
What is a clafoutis, you ask? Think of a cross between a dense custard and a thick pancake, baked with fruit. Some recipes call more more or less flour or fewer eggs which will, of course, change the texture on direction or the other. My version, based on one I found in Saveur, has quite a few eggs, so it leans more toward custard with a nice crust. I think it’s a perfect summer dessert, but it could also work on a brunch or breakfast menu.
Apparently the French tend to make this without pitting the cherries first. It’s thought that the cherry pits impart an almond flavor, but frankly, the thought of having to spit out the pits while eating this luscious dessert just didn’t appeal to me. Pitting the cherries by hand was a real pain, but in the end, worth it. It took about 20 minutes, made a mess (wear an apron, trust me on this), and if I were to do any larger volume of cherries by hand, I’d probably buy a cherry pitter.
Adapted from Saveur 2.5 cups ripe cherries, pitted
1 tsp butter
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
10 fl oz milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp kirsch
3/4 cup flour
I used a well-cured cast iron pan but you could do this in a heavy baking dish. Take care if using anything too thin (like a cake or pie pan) as it might burn on the bottom.
The original recipe calls for a much hotter oven but I found it got too brown, too fast at that heat. I also found the kirsch flavor in the original too strong, so I reduced it.
While this is really, really good when warm, the leftovers are also quite tasty the next day when chilled.
Preheat oven to 350
Use the butter to grease the cast iron pan or baking dish. Place half the cherries in the bottom of the pan.
To make the batter, add the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla extract and kirsch to a blender jar. Blend for a few seconds to mix. Add the flour and the salt and blend for 30 seconds to a minute until smooth.
Pour the batter over the cherries and sprinkle the remaining cherries over the top.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and the custard is set. A wooden skewer when inserted should come out clean if done. Serve warm.
PS. Often this is served with powdered sugar dusted on top. I was so eager to be done with the photos and eat it that I completely forgot. Honestly, it was just as good without it!