Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cherry Clafoutis

The other day I was at the grocery and saw there were lots of cherries, so I thought it might be a good idea to buy some and do something with them.

Cherries are all well and good as they are fresh, but I prefer them at least a little cooked.
Because when cooked, I think the flavor intensifies and the cherries become juicy, more cherry-flavored.

Clafoutis is a custardy, cakey French dessert made with fresh fruit. Of course, any fruit can be used- seasonal changes can be nice, but cherry is classic.
And late summer is the perfect time for the cherry version.
Like I said, the good news (if someone doesn't like cherries) is that you can make the dessert with other fruits. I wouldn't have thought it possible that cherries might not be liked, or even just tolerated, but a roommate I once had hated them. Cherry haters do exist. As do chocolate haters.

It's just a simple batter- rich, creamy, and eggy (very similar to crepe batter), with cherries bobbing about until they whole thing is baked and the warm sweet-tart little jewels become suspended.
The batter is a perfect medium to showcase the cherries.
It's not dull, not boring, but it's sort of neutral, comforting, and wonderful in the same way vanilla ice cream might be described. It's a perfect partner.

No machines needed for this one, just a bowl and a whisk.

If you don't have a cherry pitter, it's not a problem. A knife will certainly work just as well, and I know some people use a bent paperclip to remove cherry pits, but I can't really tell you how that's done.

You are welcome to leave the pits in for the added benefit of extra flavor, but I don't because I'm concerned for people's teeth and there's no real delicate way to spit out cherry pits at table.

One of my favorite flours is almond flour. I like the bit of texture and flavor that it offers, and it's one that I've kept around for several years because it was an integral ingredient for making lovely macarons. 
At one point I read or heard somewhere that clafoutis was traditionally made with almond flour, but I haven't found this statement anywhere (yet), so don't quote me on it. Then again, why not have another good reason to keep almond flour handy?

And yes, I started weighing the ingredients. It's more exact this way.
(It's a habit I would like to get into, but I don't know how consistent I'll end up being.)

Cherry Clafoutis
serves about 8

Butter, for greasing dish
1/2 c sugar, plus extra for dish (116g +)
1/4 t salt (1g)
1 1/2 c half and half or light cream (350 ml)
2/3 c almond flour (50g)
1/4 c tapioca flour (38g)
4 large eggs
1 t vanilla extract (5g)
Scant 1 1/2 lb. cherries, pitted (645g)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease the bottom and sides of a 6 cup (1.4 l) capacity dish (a deep dish pie pan, 10 inch quiche pan, or 9 inch square baking dish will all work). Sprinkle the buttered dish with granulated sugar and turn to coat, knocking out excess sugar.
Whisk together half and half, sugar, and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Add the almond and tapioca flours and whisk until incorporated and no lumps remain.
Add eggs, one at a time, whisking between each addition.
Whisk in vanilla to combine.
Pour a thin layer of batter over the bottom of the dish (it should be less than 1 cm deep). Place the dish in the oven for 5 minutes or so until the batter is set.
Remove the dish from the oven and scatter the cherries over the batter in a single layer.
Re-whisk the remaining batter and pour over the cherries.
Place the dish back in the oven and bake for another 30 minutes, or until the batter is set and puffed, the edges golden.
Remove the finished clafoutis from the oven and let rest and cool at least 20 minutes before serving.
Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with powdered sugar (and perhaps a little whipped cream).
Refrigerate any leftovers.


  1. Can't decide if I should buy a cherry pitter.

  2. It's not necessary, but if you like cherries to keep their shape, if you use a lot of fresh cherries and/or olives, you might find it to be a good investment.
    Other than those two things, I can't think of what it might be good for.