Cherry Clafoutis

It’s cherry time so the markets are well stocked with these small rubies. I saw some big black beauties so I couldn’t resist the temptation and bought some. I decided to use them for a simple french rustic dessert, Clafoutis.

What is Clafoutis?

According to Le grand Larrouse Gastronomique and The Oxford companion to sugar and sweets, Clafoutis is a rustic cherry flan/tart, a specialty of the Limousin region in southwest-central France. The name clafoutis is attested with certainty from 1864 and it is said to come from the verb clafir or claufir which means to fill. It’s one of those family desserts that can be made easily at any time, without exact measurements (like pancakes, for example). My family described Clafoutis as a baked fruity pancake (crepe).

How to make Clafoutis?

When it comes to Clafoutis, there’s no exact recipe. Usually, a tart pan is buttered and sugared, black cherries are then added and covered in a thick pancake (crepes) batter. Some variations include butter or cream. A dash of cherry liqueur may also be added to the fruits. It can be served warm or cold, with powder sugar on top and/or cream. Traditionally, the cherries are not pitted, so that the juice of the cherries does not mix with the dough. The cores also add a subtle almond taste to the dessert. Many modern recipes though advise against it because it’s easier and safer to eat if the cores are removed before baking.

Although the cherry Claufoutis is popular, there are other variations of this dessert using other fruits like plums, apricots, apples, pears, blackberries, and so on. When other fruits are used, the dessert is not called Clafoutis, but Flaugnarde, or Flognarde.

I used 4 small dishes for baking 8 portions. My forms were about 23 x 13 cm and a height of 4,5 cm.
The recipe below is for half of the quantity, so for 2 small baking dishes which serves 4 people.

Ingredients for the cherry filling:

  • 500 g cherries
  • 50 g caster sugar (~3 tbsp)
  • 50 ml cherry liqueur (~ 3 tbsp) – optional
  1. Decore the cherries.
  2. In a bowl add the pitted cherries, sugar, and the liqueur (you can leave it out) and mix them.
  3. Leave it aside while we prepare the batter.
    Black Cherries in a bowl, mixed with sugar and cherry liqueur, for cherry clafoutis

Ingredients for the batter:

  • 3 eggs
  • 50 g sugar (~3 tbsp)
  • 100 g all-purpose flour
  • 250 ml milk (use 300 ml if you left the liqueur out)
  • 1 sachet vanilla sugar (8 g) or vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt
  1. Preheat the oven at 180°C/356°F.
  2. Butter the pan(s) and sprinkle some sugar. I used 2 small baking dishes ~23 x 13 cm.
    Buttered and sugared pan for cherry clafoutis
  3. Mix the eggs with the salt, sugar, vanilla sugar.
  4. Add the flour and mix until there are no lumps.
  5. Add the milk and mix until incorporated. You will get a rather thin batter, like cream.
  6. Put the cherries in the pan(s). If you used liqueur and there’s some liquid left in the cherry bowl, you can add it to the batter.
    Black cherries in a buttered and sugared pan, for cherry clafoutis
  7. Add the batter on top until they are covered.
    Black cherries in a buttered and sugared pan, covered with batter, for cherry clafoutis
  8. Bake until lightly brown on top, for about 35-40 min. The baking time depends on the type of tray used. The metallic baking pans get hot faster so the dessert will also be done faster. The ceramic baking trays get hot slower so you may need to increase the baking time. I bake mine for about 40-45 minutes.
    Freshly baked cherry clafoutis in the oven
  9. Let it cool down for a few minutes before serving it. You can sprinkle some powder sugar on top. It also goes very well with cream.
    Section of cherry clafoutis dessert