How short is the time of cherries, goes a famous French song. I can but agree with this, and as the season draws to its end, it’s high time a recipe of clafoutis gets featured here.
I think there must be very few persons in France who never even heard about this dessert, and only a little more who never tasted it. It is one of those heirloom dishes, passed from generation to generation, which eventually united with French culinary heritage.
No special ingredients are required, apart from the freshest and most in-season fruits. These are precisely the point of clafoutis (a word deriving from a verb which means “to fill”) : without fruits, this dessert would just be a dull, boring flan. But with plump, juicy and tart red cherries (or black, depending on what you have on hand) lending the batter a sweet almond flavour through their pits, the flan turns into one of the most interesting end-of-spring desserts that I know…a real foretaste of the upcoming summer holidays. I take it that it has been created to enjoy some of the harvest of cherries right after picking, whilst preparing the others into eau-de-vie, preserving or jams.
Other fruits than cherries can of course be used, especially later into summer, but soft ones (apricots, peaches, gooseberries, plums) are recommended for an authentic clafoutis. Another traditional fruit-filled flan calling for apples actually exists, but then it is called flaugnarde.
As to the recipe, I have to confess this one isn’t my family’s recipe, that I didn’t like that much. But anyway, it is a very simple dish, made of eggs, sugar, flour, milk and that’s it. I can hardly imagine to veganise clafoutis without losing the very soul of it. The butter added to the batter is optional though (but do yourself a favour and use it at least to grease the pan !), and I suppose non-dairy milk might be used instead of cow’s, although I haven’t tried it. Of course the finest the quality of ingredients, the better it turns out !
Clafoutis, the French fruit-filled crustless flan – slightly adapted from Papilles & Pupilles’s favorite recipe
Yields 4 servings
- 400-500 gr (~2,5-3 cups) cherries or other soft fruits (see above precisions)
- 2 medium eggs
- 3 tbsp light brown cane sugar, or more to taste and according to the sourness of the cherries
- 2,5 tbsp flour, sifted
- 1/2 cup milk
- 30 gr (2 tbsp) butter, melted and cooled down
- 2 tsp vanilla sugar
Remove the cherries’ stalks. Rinse them carefully under running water and air dry them.
Preheat the oven at 350°F/180°C. Beat the eggs thoroughly with the sugar. Stir in the flour, then the milk. Using a kitchen brush, grease the pan with some of the butter. Add the remaining butter to the batter, which should look like a thin pancake batter.
Arrange the fruits into the pan and pour the batter over it. Bake for 45 mns to 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the clafoutis comes out clean. Dust it with vanilla sugar as it is still hot, and let it cool down a bit before eating. The clafoutis is better warm and the day it has been made.
Enjoy the time of cherries !