If there is one dessert to make with fresh, ripe cherries, it would be a clafoutis. Originating in France, clafoutis is a fruit dessert with an egg-y batter that is in between a custard and a pancake. Think of clafoutis aux cerises as a cherry flan with no crust or shell. Depending on where you are, the dessert will be spelled with an 's' at the end or no 's'. After baking, it is generally dusted with powdered sugar and served warm or room temperature. The baked dessert puffs up as it bakes and deflates slightly after it cools and since it is served in the dish it is baked in, decorative or favorite bakeware is used. Oven safe cookware is also used: I used my stainless steel lined copper frying pan; you can use your favorite seasoned cast iron pans, too.
Recipes vary greatly for this dessert but typically contain eggs in either whole form or yolks, and some recipes call for whipping the egg whites into peaks then folding into the batter before baking. Milk, sugar (granulated or powdered), and a flavoring such as vanilla or lemon zest are also used.
Cherries are most frequently and traditionally used in clafoutis, in either fresh, sauteed, or reconstituted dried forms. Other fruits are also used such as fresh pears, peaches or plums, or dried fruits. Traditional recipes will call for whole cherries (not pitted) but for convenience for the guest, clafoutis is now more often then not prepared with pitted cherries.
Here is my recipe for clafoutis. Use the ripest, darkest cherries you can find for best flavor and color.
Clafoutis aux Cerises (Cherry Clafouti)
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 2 1/2 cups whole cherries, pitted
- Butter for pan
- Powdered sugar for dusting
Whisk everything but the cherries in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Pour into the buttered baking dish and add the the cherries, distributing them evenly over the surface.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top is golden and the center tests done. Serve warm and dust with powdered sugar before serving.