Clafoutis, a simple and traditional French dessert. Pronounced, “klah-foo-tee”. And f***ing delicious. It’s essentially a thicker version of custard. Imagine a giant crepe with fresh fruit baked in. Sorta flan-ish.
The word comes from a French verb meaning “to fill” and most often, a clafoutis, is filled with cherries. It’s said that traditional baking methods used cherries with their pits intact and that the pit emitted a sort of leavening agent and depth in flavor. While a lovely thought, I don’t want to take a spoonful of soft custard, only to bite down on a hard cherry pit. So, I pit the cherries. And it’s both plenty thick and delicious.
While traditionally made with cherries, most fruits can be used as alternatives. The cost of cherries, even in California, are always high, so feel free to experiment with others. I tried a strawberry clafoutis and it was great. I reduced the sugar slightly (minus 2 TBSP. in the topping) since they were very sweet strawberries. Raspberries, huckleberries, blackberries, etc. would be great alternatives. Juicier summer stone fruits like nectarines and peaches also sound good but may cause a bit of a watery situation if too much of their juices are released into the batter while baking. Although, if the French baked this centuries ago, using cherries with the pits, I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be the prettiest of desserts. It’s meant to be rustic and homemade.
When Fall returns, I will post my adapted version from Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” cookbook. My friend, Mishan, gifted it to me and I’m proud to say, I’ve mastered that recipe incorporating apples or pears, and other Fall/Winter fruits. As easy and delicious as this one, you’ll be shocked at how quick it is to whip together. Again, the French really know what’s up.
You can play around with extracts as well. David Lebovitz adds a full 1 tsp. almond extract to his, which helps bring out the cherry pit flavor from classic recipes. I think adding 1 TBSP. of Brandy or Rum would be absolutely delicious too. Or why not a couple squeezes of citrus? Enjoy, as this will likely become a routine in your household once you realize it takes 5 minutes to prepare before it bakes itself into perfection.