Clafouti is clafouti. It’s not a cake, though it’s made from a batter. It’s not a custard, though it’s a bit creamy. It’s not a soufflé, though it puffs up during baking. It is what it is. And when it’s good it’s delicious.
It is also incredibly easy. I originally posted this last summer, but it’s cherry time again, and I needed a dessert to take to a party with my beloved French class. Clafouti seemed like just the thing.
Though traditionally made with cherries, clafouti can be made with many different fruits: Rhubarb and strawberries, raspberries, peaches, plums, pears. Purists only call it “clafouti” when it’s made with cherries, otherwise it’s a “flognarde.” But who among you has ever heard of a flognarde? Purists will also tell you that the cherries should be left unpitted, because the noyau release a lovely almond flavor into the batter. This is probably true, but I don’t want visit the dentist any more often than I already do.
As tempting as this will look coming out of the oven, it actually tastes better after it has cooled and settled. It you’d like to eat it warm (and I know I would), rewarm it in the oven before serving. Cut into wedges and serve with a dollop of crème frâiche. It’s also good for breakfast.
I have had some terrible clafouti in Paris. But more than one bona fide French person has told me that this is the best clafouti they’ve ever eaten. As much as I’d like to take all the credit, this recipe comes from my good friend Heather Miller.
1/2 c all purpose flour
1 c powdered sugar
2 whole eggs (large, not extra large)
2 egg yolks (again, from large eggs)
1 1/4 c milk
1/2 t vanilla extract
3/4 c crème frâiche
butter for the baking dish
about 2 c cherries (or other fruit)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9″ or 10″ quiche dish.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, powdered sugar and salt and whisk or sift so there are no lumps.
3. In a different bowl, lightly beat the eggs and then whisk in the milk and vanilla.
4. Pour a little of the liquid into the dry mix and whisk to create a slurry before adding the rest of the liquid. This will help prevent lumps.
5. Stir the crème frâiche to smooth it out and then add to the batter. Pour the batter through a fine mesh strainer to remove any stray lumps.
6. Scatter the fruit evenly in the prepared dish and pour the batter over the fruit. It should fill the dish about 2/3 of the way. You may have a little extra batter.
7. Bake the clafouti 40-50 minutes, until well-puffed, golden, and set in the middle.
8. Let cool before serving. Serve at room temperature or rewarm it in a low oven. Store any leftovers in the fridge.
Variations: The clafouti can be baked in individual ramekins, but keep in mind that the baking time will be shorter. This is lovely with a mixture of berries, or a berry-peach combination. If you use peaches or some other stone fruit, cut the fruit into 1″ pieces. Strawberry-rhubarb is wonderful here, but I recommend poaching the rhubarb in syrup beforehand or baking it with some sugar. If you want more vanilla flavor in the batter (and vanilla is delicious with cherries), steep a vanilla bean in the milk ahead of time.