a-big-bowl-of-cliche-come-true Recipes

cherry clafoutis

You know what? I’m having a fantastic summer. Life is incredibly sweet, juicy opportunities for personal and professional development are cropping up left and right, we’re going to Napa in one month and — I’m thrilled.

Its terrible how little I like to talk about this, how fearful even the most level-headed of us can be of jinxing out all the good in the world by bringing it up. I mean, really. There is a difference between flaunting or bragging about a good life and celebrating it, or at least there ought to be. Did I tell you Alex and I had a little paper airplane flying contest before we went to bed two nights ago? Yeah, things are that kind of fun.

cherries cherries

And then there are the cherries. My god, we’re just swimming in them, a big bowl of cliché-come-true. They arrived at our apartment two days ago via UPS in a refrigerated foil package from Batch’s Best Family Farms in Chelan, Washington via ChefShop.com. They’re enormous; “so sweet and so cold” and I feel incredibly indulgent with my fuchsia-stained fingernails and belly full of ruined meals because I can’t quit snacking on them. I keep thinking back to when I first moved to New York, seven years ago now, and I was so broke all the time that cherries, with their inevitable eight-buck price tag for little more than two handfuls were just not something I could eat as often as I wanted, which you know was daily.

cherries cherries

And now there’s this. Piles and piles of garnet marbles, such perfection in their original format that I felt guilty baking a significant lot of them into Ceres & Bacchus’s Clafoutis two nights ago–until I tried it. What a glorious dessert, more like a thick crepe than any cake I’ve ever had, and even better cold the next morning with a scoop of plain yogurt.

cherry clafoutis cherry clafoutis

If you’ve never made cherry clafoutis before, this will be a treat for you. A real one-bowl show-off, and get this, if you’re going for tradition–and oh, you will once you learn how much easier it will make your life–you leave the pits in. Larousse Gastronomique and other traditionalists insist that the pits impart a almond flavor when baked within the custard, something no authentic clafoutis should be deprived of. Clafoutis is often made with plums or prunes (always soaked first in Armagnac), apples or blackberries, but some remind you that this is not, indeed, a clafoutis but a flognarde.

You know what I say? I say there are about twenty cherries left in the fridge, and its time for lunch. I hope you have a swell weekend.

bitten cherry

Cherry Clafoutis

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Print

Clafoutis are baked flan-like cakes hailing from the the Limousin region of France. It makes a lovely afternoon snack/tea cake or brunch dish.

I make clafoutis by a recipe from the late food blog, Ceres & Bacchus. My tweaks are to swap the vanilla extract for almond and adding a bit more than 2 cups of cherries. What’s untraditional about this clafoutis is the inclusion of butter (originally 8 tablespoons but I find 6 to be a better level) but if you ask me, it makes all the difference. Clafoutis detractors will usually complain that they can be “rubbery,” “bland” “eggy” or “omelet-like.” I am convinced this is lives up to its custardy promise because of the butter.

A traditional Limousin clafoutis contains unpitted cherries. The pits contain amygdalin, the chemical that makes almond extract taste what we believe it almonds, and it is said that in the oven, the unpitted cherries will release a little of this complementary flavor into the clafoutis. Thus, it’s entirely up to you if you wish to pit them. Pitted, they’re a safer bet for kids that might forget to spit them out. Unpitted, you can be spectacularly lazy in the name of authenticity. I bet you cannot guess which way I make it.


  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more to butter dish
  • 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
  • A couple pinches of salt
  • 1 cup (235 ml) milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons brandy or rum (optional)
  • 2 generous (245 grams) cups sweet cherries, pitted if you wish

Heat oven to 400F. Beat the sugar and eggs together with a whisk until they lighter in color. Gradually add butter, beating to incorporate. Add the flour and salt all at once and whisk until the batter is a homogeneous mixture. Next slowly pour in the milk a little at a time. Add the extract, and brandy or rum if you are using it, mixing well. The batter should be very smooth and shiny.

Place the cherries in a buttered glass or earthenware baking dish, cake pan (9 or 10 inches in diameter) or skillet that can go in the oven. (I use a 9-inch cake pan.) Pour the batter over the fruit. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until slightly browned and almost completely set in the middle. Let sit at least 15 minutes before serving in wedges. I like it dusted with powdered sugar.


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81 comments on cherry clafoutis

  1. deb

    Happy but very BUSY, my friend. That is, unless she is making her crostada. Or stuffed tomatoes. Or has any cherries left, because I’ll soon be out. Call me!

  2. I’m so happy they arrived! Tim and Eliza (from ChefShop) brought some to the wedding on Monday, and our guests were groaning from all the goodness. The best surprise? Two days after the wedding, when I was starting to awaken from the exhaustion, I found three pounds of them tucked into our refrigerator drawer as a surprise. Ay god.

    Celebrate, my dear. Life is good. Being alive is enough. But cherries on top of it? yes.

  3. Ya know, I’m the same way. I’m convinced that if I talk about how happy I am and what I’m looking forward to (say a new job opportunity or starting some new free lance writing), it will suddenly go “poof” and I’ll be left with eyes sting for the smoke cloud my finicky happiness left behind. I think I’ll join you, Deb, in that proverbial bowl of cherries…why the heck not?! Sometimes embracing life, and it’s fruit, is what we should all do more often. Now, to visit ChefShop to partake in the goodness.

  4. Joann

    Yes do please share the wealth RECIPE PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You to have a good week-end , but please share the recipe,
    thanks

  5. Cherries and blueberries and watermelon are the really good things about summertime, in my opinion. I like the idea of leaving the pits in because that saves me a ton of work – and the whole cherries look more gorgeous.

  6. ohiogirl

    Looks fab! And you know what?

    I checked the recipe and that’s way close to a type of cobbler they make in the south. Huh. Who knew?

    Maybe I’ll test it out with some nectarines from our tree…

  7. courtney

    I know what you mean about ruined dinner. Last week we (actually I because someone in this house does not like cherries) bought over 2 1/2 lbs. of cherries and they were gone in less than 48 hours. That is on top of the baggie that my Mother in law sent home with said cherry hater the day before that was gone with in a hour.

  8. deb

    Joann — You don’t have to leave the pits in. I did. It is traditional, but not mandatory, especially if you’re making it for people who you don’t want to have to warn.

    Beth — Yes. Of course. And I spilled a little extra in there, uh, for my homies or my liver or something.

  9. Glad to have inspired so much glee. I made the clafoutis again last night, this time with blueberries because it’s my mom’s favorite. It’s also the easiest because the blueberries don’t need any prep whatsoever (and nobody breaks a tooth on a pit).

  10. Abbey

    Looks to-die-for, as always!!

    Just wanted to let you know though that your link to ChefShop (embedded in the text) is broken! Also, you spelled it wrong – with two “s”es instead of one. I hate to be the nitpicker, but I thought you’d probably want to know. :-)

  11. That recipe is very similar to a cobber my family has made for years, called the Lazy Man’s Cobbler.

    The only differences are the ratio of flour, milk and sugar(The recipe I use is 1:1:1 – all one cup of each.) and my recipe does not use eggs. I melt the butter and it goes in the bottom of the baking dish, fruit goes on top of that and then the batter on top of that. No mixing. Comes out perfect every time.

  12. I’m glad that life is going so well! It’s funny how little things like paper airplanes permeate everything and make it better and more happy.

    But where’s the RECIPE? My birthday is next week and cherries are on sale at the asian market *puppy eyes* everyone else seems to have it, am I missing something??

  13. Mmm, those look delicious. Now that I live in Oregon instead of (Las Vegas) Nevada, I can experience the joys of REAL fresh fruit..my in-laws have a huge cherry tree in their backyard and there are pear orchards rampant. It’s great, and I think we finally just finished off the cherries we got from our pot-lucked 4th of July bbq. But I do have a peach, which is THE best thing about summertime other than my birthday. :)

  14. summer – cherries – heaven on earth
    but you’re going to napa
    god how i love napa
    my #1 fave restaurant is there
    please go and send a detailed report
    please…
    let me live vicariously through you
    it’s tra vigne in st. helena
    do it do it do it

  15. Beautiful post, Deb. I think cherries are one of the most evocative of fruits — so many people have luscious memories associated with them. Enjoy Napa — we’ve gone there each summer for the past two years, and had glorious times driving the Silverado road, frolicking in Calistoga and eating really, really well. Are you already planning to go to Copia? We had a lovely day there last summer. We’re headed for Quebec this year, but I will definitely miss Napa.

  16. you mean i don’t have to buy a cherry pitter to make this?! cheery clafoutis has been on my “to make” list all summer, but your edible images made it a “must make”!

  17. Just a wonderful post!!!
    I have never made cherry clafoutis, but i could do it now.
    I have never eaten a single cherry without inspecting the color on the inside.
    How else to learn how to know R E D !

  18. Fabulous! I love cherries and have been eating them all summer. I actually think I am beginning to resemble one!

    And – your pictures are simply stunning!

  19. What magnificent photos. I’ve discovered your blog quite recently, and to be honest I have a lot of blogs in my bloglines list and don’t always pay close attention to which one I’m looking at. But recently my attention keeps being arrested by your photos, and I always go back and check and say, “yep, this is the woman who just received a new macro lens…” I’m sure it’s not just the lens though, also the skill of the photographer. Anyway now I look forward to all your new posts, especially the photos!

  20. This is so delicious! I’ve made it twice in the last 48 hours- once for a baby shower, and once for a family dinner. Yum!! Thanks, Deb!

  21. Teresa

    I just planted 42 cherry trees for my 42nd birthday. There is nothing better. I will have them picked by a local school for fundraising. Life is good.

  22. ann

    well, that’s it deb, you chose Mary’s clafouti over mine, it’s obvious we can’t be friends anymore unless next time you share the cherry love! alright, yeah, you got me, I’m kidding. Damn I’m such a bad liar! clafoutis are kind of amazing aren’t they?

  23. I can totally relate to things going so well that you are nervous to talk about them. I am experiencing just that right now and think that if I talk about it too much, I’ll jinx all the good.
    Enjoy your cherries and enjoy your “peak”, as I call it! I hope your ride is long.

  24. I just made this for a house party yesterday and it was a huge hit, thanks for sharing, Deb!

    A friend of mine is throwing a potluck party next weekend, the theme of which is Muffin Tin Only! Anything you bring should be served (if not prepared) in a muffin tin. I think it’s great!

    I’m wondering if anyone has any suggestions as to how this recipe can be adapted for small, cupcake-sized servings. I’m also wondering if it would be prudent to use cupcake liners at all, whether paper or foil.

    Any ideas?

  25. Hi, Deb. There seems to be some kind of an error on the Ceres & Bacchus page. The recipe now has question marks instead of values for some of the ingredients. I left a comment on the site, but it seems its creator has abandoned ship. Do you, by any chance, still have the recipe written down from a couple of years back? (And yes, I do realize that I am asking this question of a pregnant woman, one who just moved and has more than enough on her plate with her own blog, let alone filling in the gaps of someone else’s — forgive me!)

  26. Hi, again. I ended up using this recipe that Garrett McCord posted over at Simply Recipes. I’d recommend it. There was much bowl-scraping here tonight. So thank you, Deb, but nevermind about that request.

  27. brendalynn

    Must be cherry season, eh? I’ve been playing the runaround trying to nail down that recipe, just like Jess! Noticed one of the commenters on the Ceres & Bacchus blog said she used the recipe. She included it in her post, though it says “adapted from.” Is it probably the same? I’ll probably try Vanilla Garlic’s or someone else’s (I have gobs of cherries to use up), but just thought I’d check…

  28. Susan

    I’ve read the raves of Clafoutis all over the blog world, so I decided to make this and see for myself. So.. I followed the link for this recipe and some of the ingredient amounts were distorted. So, I followed a link from the comment section provided by a person who blogged of making it and provided the recipe on her site. I figured she must have gotten it before the quantity distortion on the orig blogsite of Ceres and Bacchu’s. Bad idea, but my own fault. I should have looked at other recipes, just to insure the quantites were reasonably in line, and I didn’t do that. The flour amount was interpreted incorrectly. I made this using the 1 cup flour called for from the commenters site. Wrong! It should be 1/2 cup, at the very most. Mine turned out so thick, it was almost gummy. I do have to say in defense of the recipe, the flavor of this custard was fantastic, and I will definately be making this dish again, with the lesser amount of flour. I also added just a little almond extract to the vanilla, because I pitted the cherries and I love the complimentary flavor.

    FYI..did you know that this custard is the base for all those (Word that ryhmes with Schmisquick) Impossible pies? It is! I thought the recipe looked familiar, but it’s been awhile since I used that product. Now that I know that, though, I have a whole lot of things I can do with this base custard recipe, with and without the sugar!

  29. I made this today, and enjoyed it thoroughly! The texture was so interesting and different from what I had expected. I added a bit of almond extract, which gave a wonderful flavor to compliment the sweetness of the rest of the ingredients.

  30. Catherine

    huh, actually, I thought the 1 cup of flour was fine. Personally, the next time I make this I’m going to cut down the butter slightly, because it was a little over-the-top rich. But basically a fabulous clafoutis.

    The Ceres & Bacchus recipe now shows ? marks, as noted above, because of a formatting problem, but (according to the comments on the original post, and I tried it out so I can confirm that they work) the quantities in question should all be 1/2. So the ingredients are:

    3 eggs
    1/2 c sugar
    1/2 c butter, melted
    1 c flour
    1 c milk
    1/2 tsp vanilla (or almond) extract
    (optional) 2 tbsp rum
    some sufficient amount of fruit, like 2 c cherries.

    I’m about to try it again, with 6 tbsp of butter and whole milk. Last time I used 2%, but I think any kind of milk, even skim, would be fine, with all that butter. Most clafoutis recipes don’t have fat in them and I’ve found them quite thin and a little uninspiring, so I was super happy to find this and I look forward to lots of experimenting–even at baseline it’s the best I’ve ever had.

    Another note: it’s easier to get the flour to incorporate fully and with no lumps when you whisk it in before adding the milk, as the Ceres & Bacchus recipe calls for. Many clafoutis recipes want you to add it at the end, and I’ve never had very good luck with that.

  31. Cheryl

    Delicious, Deb! I’ve never heard of Clafoutis before, so am really grateful you shared. Had a handful of cherries in the fridge, as luck would have it, & made a 1/2 batch immediately, following the recipe given by the reader on the Ceres & Bacchus site (no problem noticed with the 1 cup proportion of flour). Followed the recipe almost exactly. Only changes: no almond extract, so tossed in some chopped raw almonds; and don’t like powdered sugar toppings so tried sprinking granulated sugar on top, after inverting onto an ovenproof plate, and caramalizing briefly underthe broiler. YUM! Wonderful result and my 3-yr-old granddaughter got a kick out of the pits in her piece. :-) Thanks again!

  32. Sadie

    A classic! I’ve made many versions of this, with whatever fruit I’ve had on hand. It’s great with pears. I made it once for a Christmas dinner dessert; it’s good to know that it’s best eaten quickly or it will de-souffle itself by the time you’ve gotten through a meal (though it will still taste great).

  33. I’m going to give the williams-sonoma Cherry Clafoutis recipe a shot…along with Gemelli with Zucchini and Italian sausage(recipe from The Spice House site…it’s yummo–though I change it up just a wee bit) with your Haricot Verts with Shallots recipe tonight for some friends. I’m sort of hoping that there is some clafoutis left over so I can enjoy it for breakfast tomorrow…but I’m not necessarily counting on it. ;) Basically….I’m finding recipes for what I have from the FM and from my in-laws productive veg garden…and I have an abundance of green beans and zucchini!

  34. I love your easy search feature! I live in WA, so these cherries are a bit easier for me to get. In fact, I just spent $10 on 2.5lbs of them the other day. I’ve been partially feeling frantic about them going to waste before we can consume them all. This recipe is exactly what I’m going to do with some of them. Thank you!

  35. Carrie

    Bec – This has become my go-to clafoutis recipe, and I had fortunately saved it in an email (glad I did — I too was dismayed moments ago to discover the link was broken!). The below recipe is the same as what was available through the link, with a few of my notes added.

    3 eggs
    1/2 c sugar
    1/2 c butter, melted
    1 c flour
    1 c milk
    1/2 tsp vanilla (or almond) extract
    2 tbsp rum (optional — I use amaretto)
    2 c black cherries (or other fruit)

    Pre-heat the oven to 400 F. Beat the sugar and the eggs with a wire whisk until they turn lighter in color. Gradually add the butter, beating to incorporate. Add the flour all at once and whisk until the batter is a homogeneous mixture. Next slowly pour in the milk a little at a time. Add the vanilla, and the rum if you are using it, mixing well. The batter should be very smooth and shiny.

    Place the fruit in a buttered glass or earthenware baking dish, cake pan (9 or 10 inches in diameter) or skillet that can go in the oven. Pour the batter over the fruit. Bake in the pre-heated oven, approximately 30-40 minutes (mine tend to cook in less than 30 min — check early), until slightly browned and almost completely set in the middle. Let sit at least 15 minutes before turning out onto a plate and serving (or serve out of the baking pan). Serve warm or at room temperature.

  36. Jori

    Thanks to Carrie for reposting the recipe. Almost too easy for how simple and great it is. Used peak season plums, ~1/4 tsp of almond extract, and Licor 43 for the rum (it’s what was on hand)… oh so good. Going on the MVP list.

  37. diana

    Hello, could the recipe be posted on this page? The link to the other site where the recipe was originally posted does not work!

  38. julie

    Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Julia C.) has several variations on the clafouti; also Joanne Chan’s Flour cookbook. So you get “8 servings”… but my husband and I perch in the kitchen and 30 minutes after it’s come out of the oven, we basically split this thing neatly down the middle. It really is a marvelous dessert…simple and delicious.

  39. A

    one way to get the almond flavor from the cherry pits without actually having the pits in it is to use a pinch or two of mahlab- it’s a Mediterranean spice used in a lot of Armenian baking that’s made out of finely ground cherry pits, and it’s wonderful to cook with in general (goes especially well in challah dough!)

  40. Lindsay

    When I click on recipe it just says “page not found”
    Can it be found elsewhere. I have a giant cagette of cherries…….

  41. Kat

    Hey guys! I, too, recently found a huge basket of cherries and would love to try the SK version of a summer classic. However, there is no recipe attached to or described directly within this post. Anyone still have it laying around somewhere?

  42. EL

    I don’t know. I think I’ll stick with the Julia Child recipe that I use (taken from “Cooking with Amy”). I’ve never seen a recipe with butter in it and think it’s unnecessary. The other thing the Child recipe gives is time to pit the cherries because you bake part of the batter and then add the cherries and the rest of the batter. By the way, if you still want the extra almond taste, you can add almond extract. One other thing about clafoutis that I like no matter what the recipe is, is that you can use whole milk, half and half or cream depending on what you have around the house and how you feel that day/week.

    While I live out in big cherry country, I have been known to make this with tiny (cherry-sized) apricots, raspberries and rhubarb. But I definitely pit and freeze cherries just to be able to make this during the winter.

  43. marniecraven

    Maybe I am not navigating the new site correctly, but I cannot find the recipe for Cherry Clafoutis, just the beautiful pictures and lovely text.