The first time I ate clafoutis was at a birthday party my host family held. As you guys may have read in my About page, I lived in Paris with a Franco-Italian host family this last Spring semester of college. As awkward as it was with the language barrier, the family always invited me to their family gatherings.
My host aunt brought over two desserts, an apple and prune clafoutis. Both of which were shoveled onto my plate at dessert with a stern look from my host uncle. He said, “You must try both of them, my wife made them and they are delicious.” I, with a completely full stomach, accepted with a hesitant smile. He then made an “I’m watching you,” gesture with two of his fingers and then gestured to the two plates of cake. I all but licked my plate clean under his watchful eye and received an “I told you so.”
Regardless of how full I was, I loved those desserts. Mostly because of how simple they were. My host aunt explained the steps to me, it was pretty easy. A clafoutis is basically a custard poured over fruit, then baked. In the oven it will rise, looking almost like a cloud. Once cooled it sinks back down to create a dense cake. Cherries in this case make the dessert pretty striking and the acidity helps cut through the sweetness of this dessert.
*Fun fact for the day, the clafoutis cake (pronounced like clah-foo-tee) originates from the Limousin region of France. Looking back on my time there, I knew my host mother’s family originated from a southwestern area close to that region. Though I never found out what actual city where she was from, I wonder if she came from the region of the clafoutis.
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 1/3 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon almond extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup flour
- Zest of one orange
- 1 cup pitted, halved cherries
In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, salt and zest.
Add the eggs. Stir.
Then add in the milk and extract.
Pour enough mixture to fill a greased dish 1/3 of the way. Bake at 350 °F just long enough to create a skin at the surface stable enough to support the cherries. This can take about 5 minutes depending on your baking dish.
Pull out the dish and add the cherries. Sprinkle with a little additional sugar. For those watching their sugar, you can either adjust or omit this step.
Pour the remaining batter on top and return to the oven for another 40 minutes. The clafoutis is done when it is puffed, like a cloud, and golden brown. A toothpick when inserted should come out clean.
Let cool just enough for the cake to sink back down. While this dish is good cold, it is best warm with a bit of ice cream like shown above in my mini version made with leftover ingredients.