I remember the first time I heard about clafouti. It was in a bistro. A woman at the next table had something that looked like a souffle. I asked the waiter what it was. His reply? He glanced over his shoulder and quickly answered, “Oh that? You’ll love it.” No more information. It was a cherry clafouti. And I did love it.
I’ll give you more of an explanation here. A clafouti is a custard-like baked dish with fruit. The clafouti I had that day was on a warm night. It looked like the perfect dessert for a June dinner. The egg custard studded with bright cherries. Garnished with a sprig of mint and what looked like creme fraiche.
Clafouti is a dish where some like it as a custard consistency. Some prefer more of a texture resembling cake. Either way, the method is still the same. Scatter the fruit in the bottom of a buttered baking dish. Pour the mixture of eggs and milk over the fruit and bake. This is not the time to use a spring-form pan. It will leak out from the bottom of the pan.
If you want to try your hand at baking, but are afraid to work with pastry, a clafouti is an option. This version features cherries, some fresh lemon juice and the zest, flour, some sugar, eggs, and milk. We like to top desserts with the mint that is doing so well in the garden.
Prepare the cherries. Mix the eggs, lemon juice, flour, and milk. Butter the bottom and sides of your baking dish. Sprinkle a bit of sugar in the bottom of the baking pan. Rotate the dish to get the sides too.
Place cherries in the dish and pour the egg and milk mixture over them. It will resemble a thick, pancake batter. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes until golden brown.
The clafouti will rise in the oven. When the warm clafouti comes out of the oven it will look like a puffy custard with glistening cherries. It will deflate as it cools.
The egg custard flavor is a creamy background for the tartness of the cherries. Some clafouti recipes call for cherries that haven’t been pitted. The thought is that the pits lend an almond flavor to the dish. We’re not taking those chances. If someone is missing an almond flavor in the clafouti, we’ll add some almonds. You can eat almonds. You can’t eat cherry pits. Or, you really shouldn’t.
We still have some ideas for working with cherries. Stay tuned.