Friday, August 5, 2011

Cherry Clafoutis

I know what you're thinking: "What the heck is a clafoutis?" Well, it's a little piece of heaven. (Yeah, I know that definition doesn't help.) According to the culinary arts glossary at, a clafoutis (pronounced kla-foo-tee) is "a rustic French baked dessert made by baking cherries in a custard-like batter similar to pancake batter." It also makes a decadent addition to breakfast or brunch.

And like I said, it's a little piece of heaven.

The definitive recipe for clafoutis in the U.S. is, of course, Julia Child's version, but there are many others lurking out there. And you can make it with other types of fruit, such as peaches or grapes. But the cherries are divine. I recently purchased a cherry pitter, after years of wishing I had one. (I'm still kicking myself for not buying one when I worked at Williams-Sonoma. That employee discount was lovely ... and dangerous!) Definitely worth the money if you love cherries ... and I've had a love affair with cherries since I was a small child living in Washington state.

Cherry Clafoutis
Source: Adapted from Joy of Baking

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp.salt
2 large eggs
4 tbsp. granulated white sugar, divided
3/4 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4-1 lb. fresh sweet cherries, pitted
1-2 tbsp. canola oil
1/2 tsp. MSPI-friendly butter flavoring, optional
powdered sugar, optional

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place the rack in the center of the oven. Wash the cherries, remove the stems and pits.

In your food processor or blender place the flour, salt, eggs, 2 tablespoons sugar, coconut milk and vanilla extract. Process for about 45 - 60 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl or jar as needed. Once the batter is completely smooth, let it rest while you prepare the fruit.

In a large 9- inch heavy oven-proof skillet, heat the oil over medium heat making sure the oil coats the bottom and sides of the pan. (The amount of oil will depend on whether your skillet is non-stick.) When the oil is heated, add the pitted cherries, and cook until the cherries have softened a bit and are coated with the oil, 2 - 3 minutes. If using butter flavoring, add that to the pan now. Then sprinkle the cherries with the sugar and cook until the sugar has dissolved and turns into a syrup, 1 - 2 minutes.

Pour the batter over the cherries and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the clafoutis is puffed, set and golden brown around the edges. Do not open the oven door until the end of the baking time or it may collapse. Allow to cool slightly, then slice and serve immediately with a dusting of powdered sugar. (I forgot to do this!) Also excellent served at room temperature. Store leftovers (if there are any!) in the refrigerator.

Tip: Despite the use of coconut milk in this recipe, the coconut flavor is barely detectable.

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