Cherry clafoutis

July 30, 2011 at 7:24 pm (B_minus (2.5 stars), Dessert, French, Necessarily nonvegan, Pies and custards)

It’s cherry season here in Germany, and wow are they good.  I don’t know if this year is unusual, but almost all the cherries I’ve bought have been big, juicy, and extremely flavorful.  Martha Rose Shulman recently did a whole set of recipes featuring the cherry, including a recipe for a cherry soup (which I’d like to try), one for a cherry smoothie (which I blogged about on my smoothies post), and one for a cherry clafouti made with yogurt and no butter or cream.  Many years ago in Pittsburgh Derek and I used to make a cherry clafoutis recipe, which was also from the New York Times (posted below).  For reasons best left unexplained, he had dubbed it “floor cake”.  But we decided to try neither of these recipes.  Instead we ended up making Julia Child’s recipe for cherry clafoutis.


  • 1 -1/4 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups cherries, pitted
  • powdered sugar, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Using a blender, combine the milk, 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour, and blend.
  3. Lightly butter an 8-cup baking dish, and pour a 1/4-inch layer of the blended mixture over the bottom. Set remaining batter aside.
  4. Place dish into the oven for about 7-10 minutes, until a film of batter sets in the pan but the mixture is not baked through. Remove from oven (but don’t turn the oven off, yet).
  5. Distribute the pitted cherries over the set batter in the pan, then sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Pour the remaining batter over the cherries and sugar.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until theclafouti is puffed and brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.
Servings: 6-8 for dessert
My notes:

The recipe is unusual in that it uses a blender to mix the batter–kind of like a crepe recipe.  The recipe was pretty easy, except for pitting all those cherries, which was extremely tedious.  (Luckily Derek did all the pitting!)

The recipe worked fine and the clafoutis looked quite pretty.  But neither Derek nor I was thrilled about it.  Derek thought the recipe had too many cherries and not enough cake, and that the recipe was missing something.  I loved the cherries but didn’t like the texture or flavor of the clafoutis that much.  I would have preferred to have just eaten a big bowl of cherries.

Note: I didn’t add powdered sugar since it was so sweet already from all the cherries and the sugar.

New York Times Marie Martin’s Cherry Clafoutis recipe

Based on a recipe by Marie Martin printed in the New York Times. This version of the popular French dessert is creamier than usual, almost a cross between a pancake and flan. Great flavor, quick preparation, and relatively light (for a dessert)– this recipe is a valuable addition to any cook’s repertoire. For more flavor, leave the pits in half the cherries (guests just spit them out). Also great served with rum raisin ice cream. Total time is 45 minutes. Try with other fruits as well.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round glass dish or an 8- to 10-inch ovenproof skillet, preferably nonstick. Arrange in bottom of dish:

  • 15 cherries, pitted
  • 15 cherries, unpitted

Combine in a bowl:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Whisk in:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk (skim is fine)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Whisk only until smooth; do not overbeat. Pour batterover cherries. Sprinkle with a little more sugar and (optionally) dot with butter; put in oven.

Bake until puffy and firm, about 25 to 35 minutes. When done, let rest on a rack for a few minutes, then invert onto a plate. Sprinkle with a little more sugar and serve warm.

A sixth has 191 calories and an eighth has 143.

Update July 2013:  

Last week we tried a new recipe for a cherry and apricot clafoutis, written by Martha Rose Shulman for the Recipes for Health section of the New York Times.

  • 3/4 pound ripe cherries, stemmed and pitted
  • 3/4 pound ripe apricots, halved and pitted
  • 2 tablespoons Kirsch (we didn’t have any so used Gran Marnier)
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup (40 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (35 grams) almond flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup low-fat yogurt (we used full-fat)

This recipe is different in that it calls for yogurt instead of milk and uses half almond meal for the “flour.”  The flecks of vanilla from the whole vanilla bean make it look almost whole wheat.  It was not very sweet, and the apricots in particular I found surprisingly tart.  But everyone (except Derek) seemed to enjoy the fact that it wasn’t as sweet as a typical American dessert.  I didn’t think the texture was optimal, but it was reasonably tasty.   I’d consider making it again, but I might try another clafoutis recipe first.

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