Cherry what? Oh, Cherry Clafouti!

One of the best things about doing this blog is that I often stumble upon recipes that I’ve never heard of before; and that was the case when America’s Test Kitchen posted a picture of a Cherry Clafouti. I thought to myself, “a cherry what?”. Well, I couldn’t wait to give it a try, and, as it turns out, this recipe may have a fancy name, but it is so easy! The most time consuming part is pitting the cherries, but after that, you can pull this together in about 15 minutes. It looks so pretty when it comes out of the oven, everyone will wonder if you went to French cooking school!

Cherry Clafouti or “clafouti” is a little bit of a cross between a cream pastry and a custard. Traditional Cherry Clafouti is actually served with the cherries not pitted, but this makes it a little hard to eat, so I was glad to see that the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen uses pitted cherries. The downside of this, and the most time-consuming part of preparing this dessert, is pitting all those lovely cherries. I recommend finding a device that can pit more than one cherry at a time, it’s worth the investment (especially if you make a lot of cherry desserts). This one from Williams-Sonoma is great and allows you do several cherries at a time and can also be used for olives as well.

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It’s great to use fruits in a non-traditional way while they are in season

The clafoutis comes from the Limousin region of France, which is the southwest part of France -famous for some of the best beef-farming in the world. The recipe name is derived from the French-romance verb clafir which means “to fill” and, in this case, it means to fill with cherries (traditionally black cherries). There are several variations of the recipe, that include substituting other fruits such as plums, prunes, apples, pears, cranberries or blackberries, but when used, the dessert is then properly referred to as a “flaugnarde”.

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This recipe is a great, non-traditional way to use fruits that are in season

For Starters: 

There are a lot of recipes for clafoutis, but what makes this recipe unique is that it cooks it in a skillet and it also requires baking the cherries prior to adding them to the batter. Additionally, unlike other clafoutis recipes, this recipe doesn’t require cooking the cream mixture prior to placing it in the oven (this is so nice because skipping this step makes the recipe super easy).

Equipment:

1. 12-inch traditional skillet

2. Rimmed baking sheet (to pre-cook cherries) – Don’t use frozen cherries, it’s not worth it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 -1/2 pounds fresh sweet cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup (4 2/3 ounces) plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2- 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1- cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions:

Oven: 425 degrees

1. Adjust oven racks to lowest and upper-middle positions and put the 12-inch skillet on lower rack and heat oven to 425 degreesIn this recipe the skillet actually heats up while you are preparing the other ingredients.

2 Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place cherries, cut side up, on sheet. Place the cherries on the top rack of the oven,and roast them for about 15 minutes. The cherries will look tender and slightly dry on the sides, this is how you know they are ready to be taken out of the oven. Again, for me, this turned out to be about 15 minutes.

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Make sure your baking sheet is rimmed so the juices don’t make a huge mess in the oven. Cook cut-side up, for about 15-minutes

3.Transfer cherries to medium bowl. I actually strain the cherries a second time to get rid of the excess juice. Then, toss with 1-tsp lemon juice (if you’re using fresh lemons, this is about one half of a lemon). It’s important to measure the lemon juice because you don’t want the cherry mixture to be too “juicy”.  Let cherries cool for at least 5 minutes.

4. In a small bowl, combine 2-teaspoons flour and 1/8-teaspoon cinnamon. Then, take the flour mixture, sprinkle over cherries, and toss – just enough to evenly coat cherries.

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You can pre-mix the four and the cinnamon, or if you’re like me, I just throw it all in and toss

5. Next, in a medium-sized mixing bowel, whisk 4-eggs, 2/3-cup sugar, 2 -1/2-teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4-teaspoon salt until smooth and pale, about 1-minute.

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The nice thing about this recipe is that everything is whisked – no big equipment needed

6. Whisk in remaining 1/2-cup flour until smooth.

7. Whisk in 1-cup heavy whipping cream and 2/3-cup milk until incorporated.

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The final mixture should be a nice, light yellow in color. I use my hand beater to “whisk” and it works great!

Now, get ready, this moves fast


8. Have your 1-tablespoon butter ready and remove skillet (skillet handle will be hot) from oven and set on wire rack. Add butter and swirl to coat bottom and sides of skillet (butter will melt and brown quickly).

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Swirl butter in pan so it is evenly distributed, it will turn a nice light brown in color

9. Pour batter into skillet and arrange cherries evenly on top and place skillet back into oven on lower rack until clafouti puffs and turns golden brown (edges will be dark brown) and center registers 195 degrees. This will take about 18 to 22 minutes. You should also rotate the skillet halfway through baking.

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Distribute cherries evenly, some will float to the bottom – that’s okay!

10. Transfer skillet to wire rack and let cool for 25 minutes.

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The final clafouti has this beautiful browning on the edges that contrasts nicely with the colors of the cherries.

11. Sprinkle clafouti evenly with remaining 2 teaspoons sugar. Slice into wedges and serve!

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Sprinkle with sugar and serve right out of the skillet! This has a lovely custard, cream texture that is just divine!

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