Recipe of the week: Cherry Clafoutis (Sweet Cherry Soufflé)

After a bit of a hiatus, I’ll be blogging with weekly favourite recipes this summer. Look out for book give-aways and fun competitions as well!

Clafoutis (Sweet Cherry Soufflé)

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 30 to 40 minutes
Servings: 6 generous pieces

Clafoutis is a version of the French flan that is traditionally made with cherries (or other moist fruit such as plums, prunes, raspberries, or blackberries), enveloped by a simple cake batter. The fruit is polka- dotted in the cake, giving it a playful look that children love. Even the name is fun to say: kla-foo-TEE. Traditionally, this dish is cooked with the pits left inside the cherries (purists believe that this intensifies the flavor of the dish). I pit the cherries (or, when I’m in a rush, use small plums instead, which are easier to pit).

Our source for the cherries is an old tree at Philippe’s aunt’s house. Tante Odette’s tree is the most productive I’ve ever encountered; the branches, weighed down with cherries, hang down almost to the ground. In late June and early July, the extended family is mobilized for cherry picking, cherry jam making, and (of course) cherry eating. Clafoutis is my daughters’ favorite recipe from this time of year.

2 cups pitted cherries or plums (or other moist fruit)
1/3 cup granulated sugar

1⁄2 cup flour

Pinch of salt
3 eggs
11⁄4 cups milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar (or brown sugar—I like muscovado)

1. Place the fruit in a bowl with half the granulated sugar, stir well, and set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 ̊F. Grease a 9-inch baking dish.

3. In a large bowl, sift the flour with the salt and remaining sugar. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and milk to combine. Add the va- nilla. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and combine well. Spread the fruit evenly in the baking dish and pour the batter on top. The cherries may float to the surface now (or later, during baking).

4. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is firm and golden brown. Cool, then sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. Serve immediately (but make sure the inside isn’t too hot for kids’ tender tongues!).

Note: Julia Child recommends baking this twice (briefly baking a thin layer in the bottom of the dish, then adding the fruit topped with the remaining batter and baking until done). But the French parents I know use this “express” method, with wonderful results!

Tip: Serve the clafoutis in the baking dish, as it is quite “wobbly” and won’t transfer well. Fresh out of the oven, the cake is puffed up and golden. It will settle and sag a little bit, but that’s exactly what it is supposed to do.

6 thoughts on “Recipe of the week: Cherry Clafoutis (Sweet Cherry Soufflé)

  1. The clafoutis tasted delicious but it never puffed up. What could I have done wrong? It did have more of a flan consistency than a cake or even souffle consistency. Is that correct?

  2. My teenage daughter answered my question! She found pitting much easier using our fingers rather than a knife. So we did it together and enjoyed chatting during the process. The clafoutis is baking now! Merci pour le recipe!

  3. Karen, I am finally getting around to making this recipe, and finding pitting the cherries quite tedious and messy. Is there a proper (or easy?) procedure for cherry pitting? I now can see why people make it with the pits left in! But I think that would be very hard to eat. Thanks for any help you can provide.

  4. I always make mine without the pits because my French husband hates it that way! Also, sometimes I use canned or bottled cherries and it is quite good! I also use Julia Child’s recipe! Did you know it’s just a pancake batter recipe?

  5. Aaah… le fameux clafoutis! Thanks, Karen, for some reason I’ve been avoiding it because of the whole “pitting the cherries” controversy! Which you have just liberated me from: I shall pit the cherries… I shall make clafoutis and apricot flan for this week’s gouters… and give a taste of it to my toddler without the fear of the pits! ;-)

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