A clafoutis (pronounced kla-foo-tee) is a French dessert that resembles a flan or baked custard, but made with a whole lot of delicious fruit. It's an easy recipe, almost fool-proof really, made simply by preparing a pancake-like batter which is poured over fruit (in this case, cherries), then baked in the oven until puffed, set and golden.
Not only is making a clafoutis simple, it's also very versatile; you can make it with different fruits as they come into season. It works equally well made with berries, cherries, apricots, peaches, grapes, plums, nectarines, pears, apples..... You may want to sauté some of the harder fruits (e.g. apples) briefly before covering them in the batter and baking the clafoutis in the oven. Just so they aren't still crunchy by the time the batter has baked. The traditional way to make a cherry clafoutis is to leave the cherries unpitted. Baking the dessert with the stones left in the cherries will give a little more flavour to the dish. My preference is to pit the cherries. I'll sacrifice a little flavour if I don't have to worry about breaking a tooth chomping down on a cherry pit! And besides, who wants to spit out cherry pits after every bite?! (A little tip - using almond extract instead of vanilla in the batter will help bump up the cherry flavour.) Removing the cherry pits can be the pits especially if you have lots of cherries to pit. Investing in a cherry pitter will make short work of the task, or you can cut the cherries in half to scoop out the pit.
Makes 6 servings
- 1 lb (450 g) sweet cherries, pitted (about 3 cups)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- 1 tsp almond or vanilla extract Icing sugar
- Maple syrup, whipped cream, vanilla yogurt or creme fraiche
Spread cherries in a well-buttered 7 x 11-inch or 9-inch square baking dish. Set aside. Stir together flour, sugar and salt. Add eggs, milk and almond extract; whisk until mixture is smooth. Pour batter over cherries. Bake in a preheated 4oo°F oven until puffed, set and golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then dust with icing sugar. Serve warm (not hot as cherries will be very hot!) or cold. Serve drizzled with maple syrup, or topped with whipped cream, yogurt or creme fraiche.