cherry clafoutis.

cherry clafoutis.

Coach‘s cherry tree bore fruit for the very first time, providing a little bunch of small, tart cherries with the kind of red color that I had previously believed only to exist in cartoons, or in tubes of lipstick. Coach, Boots, Kenan and I had been talking over dinner, a few days prior to the miraculous fruiting, about using the cherries to bake a pie when they ripened, but I suggested that we try a clafoutis, as I had never baked one before and as eating them constituted one of my mouth’s most treasured memories from living in France (and also, I’ve yet to meet a cherry pie that I was actually smitten with, although I’m open to the possibility). I remembered that I had a recipe for clafoutis from Tartine, which I was sure would at least be a good starting place, so I consulted said recipe and spent a little while researching this ubiquitous French dessert.

And so, armed with the book and some supplies, we went over to Coach and Boots’s apartment last Tuesday evening, ready to make cherry magic happen. Coach’s cherries were bright bright red, as I mentioned, whereas the cherry variation of choice for a clafoutis is traditionally black. I felt confident, however, that these tart, almost eager little guys would make an excellent addition to the sweet and yielding custard base.

la préparation

prep time happens

The typical clafoutis is quite straightforward, containing only a few ingredients. It’s possible to go all fancy with variations and additions, but Tartine’s recipe maintains the simplicity of the traditional clafoutis, calling only for whole milk, vanilla bean, sugar, salt, eggs, flour, and cherries. I’m so fond of this dessert, and was so pleased with how mine turned out, that I’ll probably end up trying some variations with different fruits and such, but it’s always best to start basic. My only amendment to the recipe was to add a wee bit of cream along with the whole milk, to make everything, well, creamier. Some folks also use cornstarch in place of flour for a more solid custard, but I decided to stick with flour, at least on the first go-round.

The whole thing was very simple and quick to prepare; you simply heat up the milk, sugar, vanilla, and a bit of salt to just under boiling, in the meantime mixing the eggs with the flour. Then the milk mixture is added to the egg and flour mixture while whisking constantly so as not to let the mixture curdle. Then the custard is poured into the prepared pan and the cherries are plopped in (that part was awesome). Because I had never made this dessert before, I was a little concerned at how liquid the custard was before it went into the oven (basically it has the texture of ever-so-slightly thickened cream), but it cooked up splendidly, golden brown on the edges and set nicely in the center. After it’s out, you raise the temperature of the oven, dust the custard with some confectioner’s sugar, and stick it back in for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the sugar to caramelize. Unfortunately I didn’t have a sifter on hand, so the sugar was a bit clumpy and thus didn’t caramelize as much as I would have liked, but the end result was still lovely.

… et la dégustation


Clafoutis is usually served either chilled or lukewarm, but we were all too excited to wait for it to cool down, so we ate it just barely cool enough to eat – we like to live on the edge:


As I said, it’s a pretty simple dessert, so there wasn’t really much to screw up, but I was still proud of how it came out: the bottom of the clafoutis had a toothsome, chewy, but not rubbery, texture, almost like a pillow-soft crust, and the cherries were like little bursts of tartness dispersed throughout. Even sorting through the stones (which are kept in, and add a hint of almondy flavor to the custard) was fun. We went through the better part of it between just the four of us, and everyone seemed pleased with the result.

Eating the leftovers the next day was also scrumptious. The texture changes slightly when chilled, but it’s still quite delicious: light, creamy, and fruity. I was tempted to eat it with ice cream, but then my stomach gave me dire warnings of misadventures with too much dairy, and I decided I’d hold off, at least for now.

Tartine’s Clafoutis


whole milk 2 cups
sugar 3/4 cup
vanilla bean 1/2
salt pinch
large whole eggs 3
all-purpose flour 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp
cherries, pitted 2 cups
confectioner’s sugar for topping 1/4 cup

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 10-inch ceramic quiche mold or pie dish.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, sugar, vanilla bean, and salt. Heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, to just under a boil. While the milk mixture is heating, break 1 egg into a heatproof mixing bowl, add the flour, and whisk until the mixture is free of lumps. Add the remaining 2 eggs and whisk until smooth.

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Slowly ladle the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture into the prepared mold and add the fruit, making sure that it is evenly distributed.

Bake until just set in the center and slightly puffy and golden brown around the outside, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the custard from the oven and turn up the temperature to 500 degrees. Evenly sprinkle the sugar over the top of the clafoutis. Return the custard to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes to caramelize, watching carefully (it will darken quickly).

Let cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.


*photos by Coach and boyblue, with help from the former’s bangin’ new camera.

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2 notes

  1. kenan says:

    i need to stop reading your ‘blog before breakfast.

  2. fridaswork says:

    everything looks so tasty! mm mm mmmm!

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