Monday, May 4, 2009

Save Room for Clafoutis

Clafoutis (pronounced klah-foo-tee) is a traditional French dessert from the country's Limousin region. The classic version of clafoutis is made with dark, sweet cherries, although it is possible to make clafoutis with various fruits. I have seen other recipes for clafoutis that is made with apples, blackberries and pears.

Clafoutis has a unique texture — it's essentially half custard, half cake. Beware of clafoutis recipes (like this one) that propose to replace the milk/heavy cream mixture entirely with low-fat milk. Last year, I tasted one such low-fat recipe, and the clafoutis it produced was somewhat bland.

I decided this weekend to make a clafoutis with cherries. Here is the recipe I use whenever I make it:


1 cup of sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
5 tablespoons of sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
1 cup of milk
3 tablespoons of heavy cream
6 tablespoons of melted butter
1-1/2 pounds of sweet cherries, pitted and drained of juice*

* -- this equals roughly 2 15-oz. cans of pitted sweet cherries


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan or 10-inch tart pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar. In a smaller bowl, use an electric- or hand-mixer to beat the eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract for 20 to 30 seconds.

2. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients in the larger bowl. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat until the dry ingredients and the egg mixture are incorporated.

3. Add the milk in a slow and steady stream, mixing until well combined. The mixture should form a smooth, soupy batter.

4. Continue to beat as you add the cream and melted butter, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. With a large spoon or spatula, carefully fold in the cherries and ensure a fairly even distribution as you pour the batter into the greased springform pan.

5. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes — until cake is set, but interior is still slightly soft. Then remove cake pan from oven and allow to cool.

6. Serve slices of the clafoutis with freshly whipped cream.

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