I often come across “new to me” words as I peruse recipes. Even more often I look at these words, puzzled and then have to figure out how in the world do you pronounce that and what is it?? Clafouti. I was not familiar with this word or the delicious fruity custardy dessert until just recently. After a little research I learned that I was (surprisingly) pronouncing it correctly. Whoo hoo!
Clafouti, pronounced (kla-foo-ti) is a French dessert made with fruit that has been covered with custard and baked to golden brown perfection. Once baked the combination of sweet, plump cherries and custard will have you immediately grabbing your spoon to dig in. Fortunately, it’s meant to be eaten warm or at room temperature so no self-control necessary! Despite the seemingly difficult pronunciation of clafouti, I assure you it is beyond simple to make. Place fruit in the bottom of a dish, mix together a few ingredients, pour over fruit, bake. That’s it. Simple! Yet so beautifully impressive.
Impressive that is unless you’re me and haven’t a clue what you’re doing cause it’s the first time you’ve even heard of (let alone made) clafouti then it’s not as impressive looking as one might have hoped it would be. But... that’s why you’re reading this… so you can learn from my mistakes, right? Read on so that you can impress all your friends with your awesome, beautifully, impressive clafouti.
Traditionally clafouti is made in a round baking dish and then cut into wedges. You see, I chose to use small ramekins and oven-proof cups for personal portions. Next time, I think I may stick with tradition or perhaps use larger ramekins. The clafoutis will puff up quite a bit and my small ramekins that left no space for the puff. Or my portions in my small ramekins left no space for the puff. This yielded less than beautiful results despite their tastiness. The combination of small size and big puff led to deflated clafouti. Either way, you won’t have these problems because I recognized my mistakes and have corrected them. Onward we go…
It seems that cherry is the popular choice of fruit for a clafouti so that’s where I started. Traditionally the cherries are not pitted so that the pits can release their natural almond flavor. However, you can remove the pits if you so choose. Having now made this fabulous dish my wheels are turning and I’ve realize that any stone fruit will go wonderfully inside this custard! In the future I definitely intend to try plums, nectarines or peaches. Perhaps I’ll try a combination of stone fruits. I also think that pears would go nicely in a clafouti.
The possibilities are endless with this versatile and easy to make dessert. It also would make a lovely dish for a brunch. So go ahead and give this simple sweet a try.
Cherry Clafouti Adapted from Bon Appetit (June 2011)
1 pound fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted
1 c. whole milk
1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
4 large eggs
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest
3/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp kosher salt
powdered sugar, for dusting
– Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 10″ springform pan.
– Arrange the cherries in a single layer on the bottom of the pan.
– Combine milk and cream in a small saucepan; bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Set aside.
– Combine eggs, flour, sugar, lemon zest, almond extract, and salt in a medium bowl; whisk to blend.
– Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture; whisk until custard is smooth. Pour custard evenly over cherries in pan.
– Bake clafouti until custard is set and top is golden brown, about 45-55 minutes. Let cool 3 minutes, then run a knife around pan sides to loosen clafouti. Dust top with powdered sugar; cut into wedges and serve.
** If you decide that you would like to attempt the ramekin route, pour only enough custard into the ramekins so that the cherries are almost covered. Don’t completely cover them. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 mins.