“Clafoutis” (pronounced kla-foo-tee) is one of those funny French words that makes a dish sound so fancy, while it’s actually so simple to make. Some fresh seasonal cherries and a few basic baking ingredients (flour, sugar, eggs and milk) is all you need to create this utterly delicious dessert in your own kitchen. So if you’ve never tried to make a Cherry Clafoutis at home before, stay with me – you’ll be amazed how easy it is to prepare it!
The simplest Cherry Clafoutis Recipe
Probably because it is so quick and simple to make, this custardy baked flan nestled with fruits is a staple among French home cooks in the Summer. It is ideal to make do with the abundance of cherries in early Summer and combines them with an eggy, almost custard-like batter, which makes for a refreshing yet comforting dessert.
My recipe will give you the simplest version of a Cherry Clafoutis. Simple, classic, timeless. It just works wonderfully. The clafoutis is soft and tender, just sweet enough, with bursts of juicy cherries, a puffy golden top and a satisfying chewy rim. This is a fabulous ending to any Summer meal, served warm or cold. You can enjoy it by the spoonful or cut it in slices just like a cake. You can leave it bare or with a light dusting of powdered sugar, and top it with scoops of vanilla ice-cream.
What Cherries to use?
In France, a clafoutis will traditionally be made with black cherries or the Bigarreau Cherry, a hard-fleshed pale cherry that is often used in baking and for the making or jams of candies.
When in Canada, I use tart cherries, such as Montmorency, or sweet ones like Bing Cherries as a substitute. I find the latter great to bake with, since they are very sweet, hard-fleshed and do not release much liquid when baking. Bing Cherries are one the most commonly available sweet cherry varieties in North America.
To pit or not to pit?
As per tradition in France, when making the very traditional Cherry Clafoutis from Limousin, you must leave the cherry pits intact for more flavor. The pits contain amygdaline, the same active chemical found in almond extract. So during the baking process, some amygdalin from the pits is released into the clafoutis batter and gives a subtle nutty note. Skipping the cherry-pitting certainly makes the preparation for this recipe way quicker and easier too, but I feel it also makes the eating part far less enjoyable… You can choose whichever option you prefer (with pitted or un-pitted cherries). If you opt to pit the cherries (like I usually do), slice the cherry in half, twist off one half and remove the pit from the other half with the tip of a pointy knife.
- This recipe works for one large clafoutis (8-9 circular pie dish or skillet – to be baked for 1 hour) or for 8 individual 1-cup baking dishes or ramekins (to be baked for about 40 minutes).
- Use 2% or whole milk (no skimmed or fat-free).
- I like to add 1 tablespoon of Kirsch (sour cherry liquor) to my batter to boost the cherry taste – but this is optional.
1 tbsp butter
1 1/4 cup (312.5ml) milk (2% or whole)
2/3 cup (132g) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tbsp (15ml) vanilla extract
optional: 1 tbsp (15ml) kirsh
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 (62.5g) cup all-purpose flour
3 cups cherries, pitted or unpitted
Powdered sugar, for serving
Make sure you read the cooking notes before you start.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter generously a 8-9 inch circular pie dish or skillet (or 8 individual 1-cup baking dishes or ramequins).
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, Kirsch (optional). Add the flour and salt, and whisk until smooth.
Place the cherries at the bottom of the prepared dish (or a handful at the bottom of each individual dish). Pour batter over top.
Bake for 1 hour (or 40 minutes for individual clafoutis). The clafoutis is done when puffed and brown on the edges, and a knife plunged in the center comes out clean.
Transfer to a cooling rack. The clafoutis will deflate as it cools.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve warm.
If you try this Classic French Cherry Clafoutis recipe let me know! Leave a comment or share a photo using #pardonyourfrench on Instagram. Bon Appétit!
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