Classic Cherry Clafoutis For Two

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Individual Cherry Clafoutis for Tea Time
Cherry Clafoutis Baked in Individual Au Gratin Dishes

A classic dessert with French origins, Cherry Clafoutis (pronounced “kla-foo-tee“) is remarkably simple to make with the most basic of ingredients. If you can mix together the batter for pancakes or crepes and pour it over cherries in a baking dish, you can make this dessert!

Cherry Clafoutis is characterized by a rich, dense flan-like custard filling surrounding large whole cherries. Yes, it really is that simple! It’s only the fancy name that makes it sound so ultra-sophisticated! This is probably one of the simplest of all desserts to make and most cooks will likely have all the ingredients (excluding, perhaps, the fresh cherries) on hand in their pantry.

Cherry Clafoutis in au gratin dish with fresh cherries on the side
Cherry Clafoutis Dusted with Confectioner’s Sugar

The name “clafoutis” is derived from the Occitan verb “clafir” which means “to fill”. In the case of this dessert, it presumably means to fill the batter with cherries. Cherry Clafoutis originated in the Limousin region of France, earning it a long-standing spot in the French desserts category of fine foods.

True clafoutis is made with cherries. While other fruits, such as blackberries, blueberries, plums, or cranberries, for example, can be substituted, a similar dish made with those fruits would more appropriately be called a flaugnarde, not a clafoutis.

While any variety of tart or sweet cherries may be used, traditionally tart black cherries, unpitted, were used in the dessert. Presumably, the pits were left in the cherries because it was thought the pits emitted extra flavour into the dish. However, biting into a big juicy cherry amidst a lovely silky custard dessert only to unexpectedly discover a hard stone does not, in my opinion, make for the most pleasant of dining experiences.

Bite of Cherry Clafoutis on a fork
Cherry Clafoutis

Many, including myself, pit the cherries for this dessert. A cherry pitter works best to remove the pit as it leaves the whole cherry intact and, appearance-wise, the large whole cherries are what characterizes Cherry Clafoutis. I find flavor boosters, such as vanilla, almond flavoring, and lemon zest, are fine replacements for any flavor the hard pits would add and far outweigh the risk of a broken tooth!

Bite of Cherry Clafoutis on fork tines
Cherry Clafoutis

The batter, while quite thin and runny going into the pan, bakes into a silky smooth rich, dense and somewhat sturdy custard, in between the large whole cherries. This is meant to be a rustic style dessert, golden brown on top and browned slightly on the puffed up edges when baked. It is often baked in a cast iron skillet though many other types of baking vessels may be used. A sprinkle of turbinado sugar (shown in photo below), while optional, provides a slightly crusty topping. Sometimes I add it and sometimes I don’t.  It’s good either way!

Au Gratin Dish Filled with Cherry Clafoutis
Cherry Clafoutis with Turbinado Sugar Topping

I like to make personal serving size Cherry Clafoutis in individual au gratin dishes (as shown in photo above). My recipe is sized for two servings (but can easily be doubled or tripled) so each individual dish should have a holding capacity of upwards of a cup to allow for expansion of the clafoutis as it bakes. It will puff up during baking and it will deflate somewhat when it comes out of the oven so expect this to happen. Alternatively, a deep dish 7” pie plate (like the yellow one in the photo below) will also accommodate this two-serving size recipe and the clafoutis can then be sliced into wedges and plated.

Yellow ceramic pie plate filled with Cherry Clafoutis
Cherry Clafoutis

The baking times indicated in the recipe are a gauge and will vary depending on the size of baking pan(s) used. Note that, if doubling or tripling the recipe and baking it all in one pan, a larger baking dish will be required and the baking time will need to be adjusted accordingly. Essentially, bake the dessert until it is browned on the edges, golden brown and set on the top, and a cake tester inserted into the center of the dessert comes out clean. While it should be slightly firm to the touch, it is perfectly fine for the clafoutis to still have an ever-so-slight jiggle to it when the baking pan is gently shaken.

Note that overbaking may cause the clafoutis to develop a rubbery texture and it will lose its signature silky texture. Try to refrain from opening the oven door during the baking until near the end of the suggested baking time when you think the clafoutis is ready to be tested for doneness as this can cause the dessert to prematurely deflate.

Slice of Cherry Clafoutis garnished with fresh cherries
Slice of Cherry Clafoutis

Best served lukewarm, dress the Cherry Clafoutis in the traditional way with a simple dusting of icing sugar (aka confectioner’s sugar or powdered sugar) at time of serving. A dollop of whipped cream can be added, if desired. Clafoutis is best eaten fresh soon after it is baked as I find it has a tendency to develop a somewhat rubbery texture if held over too long.

Cherry Clafoutis in yellow pie plate with a cup of tea for teatime
Cherry Clafoutis for Teatime

So snag some of those lovely large cherries when they are in season and treat yourself to a beautiful summertime French dessert known as Cherry Clafoutis! It’s a classic.

Small white bowl filled with stemmed cherries
Bowl of Cherries

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Classic Cherry Clafoutis for Two

Ingredients:

6 oz fresh whole sweet cherries, pitted and stems removed
1 large egg
2 tbsp granulated sugar
¼ cup + 1 tbsp whole milk
¼ tsp pure vanilla
¼ tsp pure almond flavoring
½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
Pinch fine sea salt
3 tbsp all-purpose flour (or gluten-free one-to-one baking flour)
¾ tbsp melted butter

1½ – 2 tsp turbinado sugar (optional)
Icing sugar (for dusting tops of clafoutis)

Method:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 375°F. Butter two individual au gratin dishes or one deep-dish 7” pie plate. Divide cherries equally and spread on bottom of au gratin dishes or altogether in a single pie plate.

In small bowl, beat the egg and sugar with hand mixer or whisk until frothy. Add the milk, vanilla, almond flavoring, lemon zest, and sea salt and mix well. Beat in the flour until mixture is smooth. Blend in the melted butter. If using au gratin dishes, divide the custard mixture evenly and pour over the cherries in the au gratin dishes. If using a single 7” pie plate, pour entire custard over the cherries in the pie plate. Sprinkle lightly with turbinado sugar, if desired.

Place baking dish(es) on a baking sheet and transfer to preheated oven. For the individual au gratin dishes, bake for approximately 25-27 minutes or, for the pie plate, bake for 31-33 minutes, or until edges of clafoutis begin to brown, top is set and golden-colored, and a cake tester inserted into the center of the clafoutis comes out clean. Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar.

Yield: 2 servings

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Classic Cherry Clafoutis for Two

A classic French dessert made with a custard batter studded with fresh cherries and baked in the oven, Cherry Clafoutis is a wonderful and simple summertime dessert
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Keyword cherries, cherry, cherry clafoutis, clafoutis, summertime desserts
Servings 2
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • 6 oz fresh whole sweet cherries, pitted and stems removed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup + 1 tbsp whole milk
  • ¼ tsp pure vanilla
  • ¼ tsp pure almond flavoring
  • ½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour (or gluten-free one-to-one baking flour)
  • ¾ tbsp melted butter
  • 1½ - 2 tsp turbinado sugar (optional)
  • Icing sugar (for dusting tops of clafoutis)

Instructions

  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 375°F. Butter two individual au gratin dishes or one deep-dish 7” pie plate. Divide cherries equally and spread on bottom of au gratin dishes or altogether in a single pie plate.
  2. In small bowl, beat the egg and sugar with hand mixer or whisk until frothy. Add the milk, vanilla, almond flavoring, lemon zest, and sea salt and mix well. Beat in the flour until mixture is smooth. Blend in the melted butter. If using au gratin dishes, divide the custard mixture evenly and pour over the cherries in the au gratin dishes. If using a single 7” pie plate, pour entire custard over the cherries in the pie plate. Sprinkle lightly with turbinado sugar, if desired.
  3. Place baking dish(es) on a baking sheet and transfer to preheated oven. For the individual au gratin dishes, bake for approximately 25-27 minutes or, for the pie plate, bake for 31-33 minutes, or until edges of clafoutis begin to brown, top is set and golden-colored, and a cake tester inserted into the center of the clafoutis comes out clean. Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar.

Recipe Notes

Yield: 2 servings

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Individual au gratin dishes filled with Cherry Clafoutis


Love Cherries? 

Try my recipe for Cherry Jam!

 

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