anything-but-clementine clafoutis

Sometimes I cook things even though I have significant doubts that they will be in any way delicious. Why is this, how is this so, you ask? Because I live in a mental place I affectionately call Hope. I wish to be surprised. I aspire to be wrong from time to time (though not, as Alex can but probably will not argue, because he is polite, too often, and certainly not if it would make him right) because if the sum of the parts that together comprise the world as I know it is all there is, I’d be kind of bummed. I’d be kind of bored.


Often enough, things exceed my expectations. There are better-than-Campbell’s Cream of Tomato Soups, there is Fennel Ice Cream and Red Velvet Cake and, loudest as of late, there is brining.

clementine clafoutis

And then there are the other times that my hunches are actually-spot on, such as a recent one that whole segments of citrus fruit should not be baked. They they can be juiced, they can be zested and, most gloriously, they can be pureed whole into tarts and sorbets, but baked, just plain old baked, their segment skins become dry and papery and their lovely fruit within gets a bitter tang and you, if you are like me, will likely wish you had just eaten them when they were at their most tempting.

I’m not too bummed, however, as I may or may not, have picked most of the segments off my slice and just eaten the delicious baked custard underneath. Furthermore, this means that I am due for a recipe that proves my skepticism wrong, and, oh, I really hope it is these Italian pretzels.

clementine clafoutis

One year ago: Deb Three-Bean Chili, Corn Bread with Cheddar, Jalapeno and Green Onions, Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes and Mushrooms [Hibernation Fare]

Anything-But-Clementine Clafoutis
Adapted from The New York Times 1/9/08

As noted above, I did not care one bit for the baked clementine suggested in the original recipe, but this doesn’t make clafoutis any less of a delicious dessert. Here are some fruits I would consider using instead: cherries, blue-, heck, any berries, grapes, thin slices of apples or pear and if you are really itching for summer, perhaps you can find some not-too-sordid plums or peaches.

Serves at least six

Butter as needed
1/2 cup flour, more for dusting pan
3 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Pinch salt
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used milk)
3/4 cup milk
Dash of flavoring, such as almond or vanilla extract, a liqueur or brandy (optional)
About 3 cups of fruit (sliced pears or apples or any of the others listed above)
Powdered sugar

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a gratin dish, about 9 by 5 by 2 inches, or a 10-inch round deep pie plate or porcelain dish, by smearing it with butter, just a teaspoon or so. Dust it with flour, rotating pan so flour sticks to all the butter; invert dish to get rid of excess.

2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Add 1/2 cup flour, and whisk until smooth. Add granulated sugar and salt and whisk until combined. Add cream and milk and whisk until smooth.

3. Layer fruit over bottom of the dish. Pour batter over fruit to as close to top of dish as you dare; you may have a little leftover batter, depending on size of your dish. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until clafoutis is nicely browned on top and a knife inserted into it comes out clean. Sift some powdered sugar over it and serve warm or at room temperature. Clafoutis does not keep (not sure I agree with this); serve within a couple of hours of making it.

Leave a Reply to Linda Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

84 comments on anything-but-clementine clafoutis

  1. I’m so happy to read this review – I was going to try the clementine version this weekend, but now I think I’ll pass. Darn. We never seem to get through an entire case of clementines before they get funky; I thought this would be a perfect way to put a lot of them to good use.

  2. looks lovely — almost lovely enough to make me rething my non-excitement for clafoutis! i’ve made them twice, and wasn’t really impressed either time.

  3. Koren

    I was also tempted by this recipe when I saw it in the NYTimes last week. It sounded so light and refreshing and yet, I’ve never really enjoyed cooked citrus. Glad to have this suspicion confirmed; now I can cross this off my list. It looks beautiful though!

  4. I wonder, would it work if you used a more substantial citrus (like a grapefruit or a nice old-fashioned orange) and sectioned them with a knife? You’ll have to excuse my vocabulary block, but I mean where you slice off the top and bottom, slice down the sides to remove the skin, then cut out the fruit between the membrane? Too juicy?

  5. deb

    I actually considered suggesting that, but there was still something off-tasting about the baked citrus. There was a serious bitter pang to it, and even though I generally like bitter things, this was kind of ick.

  6. Celeste

    It never occurred to me ever to bake citrus whole. Citrus skin is a peeve of mine. I suppose since you can’t freeze citrus, it makes sense that you wouldn’t bake it.

    Deb, did you ever try Clementine Cake? I don’t know what to make of it. I imagine it would be like making marmalade from scratch and using that in a cake.

    I found this link on Nigella’s website:

  7. I like the idea of using grapes. I never thought of baking with grapes before until I had a grape cake recently and fell in love. What I’d really like to try this with is blackberries though – must file this away until summer.

  8. Judy

    Deb, could you please tell me what this sign means in your recipes..1½…I do not know if it is just me but alot of your recipes in the comes out as this..
    It is snowing like crazy up here today and wanted to make the tomato soup but need to clarify the measurements..
    Thanks Again

  9. deb

    We’re having issues with dingbats, or those nonsensical symbols that occur when HTML code isn’t being translated properly, since the server migration, much to our frustration, but we are working on it. In general, you can simply remove the offending character, i.e. the “” in “1½” to make sense of the original measurement (1 1/2). Nonetheless, we hope to have this fixed up soon.

  10. Jeff C

    I saw this on the NY Times website a little while ago and also thought it sounded like a bad idea. Is that were you got the idea to try?

  11. Meredith

    I am new to the whole food blog scene but a friend turned me on to your site. While reading today’s entry I saw the mention of the pretzels and so I clicked and explored that site…I found a recipe for pink snowballs just like the Hostess ones! My boyfriend will be so excited. Thanks for having such an enjoyable site and for helping me to find others like it! Keep up the good work!

  12. Mia

    I was so suspicious of this recipe when I saw it in the NYT….thanks for confirming my suspicion! In general custard with citrus doesn’t appeal to me all that much. I think the other fruits you suggested would be much better. Maybe even something dried during the winter – dried figs? apricots?

  13. Christine

    The NYT recipe doesn’t mention this at all, but if you read the accompanying article, it says, “it’s worth spending a little time removing any thick white strands from the sections, and any of the fine webbing that comes off easily.” Probably if you had removed the sections from their thin skins it would have turned out better, since that would solve the papery skin problem, as well as the bitter flavor the skin gave the fruit. The recipe definitely doesn’t include this tip, but I guess it should! I imagine that the citrus and custard flavors would go really well together, so this might be worth trying a second time after removing the skins (although that in itself is pretty labor intensive), despite the way it turned out the first time around.

    1. KT

      I agree. I’m confident that the “skins” to the oranges are what gave it the bitter flavor. I will be trying this with the skinned clementines and I’m sure it will be great.

  14. I tried cherry clafoutis for my New Year’s dinner — disaster. I overcooked it horribly. At least yours looks pretty. I would think that the acid in the citrus would cause the milk to curdle, but it sounds like that wasn’t the issue. W-S has recipes for cherry, apricot and I think pear. Good luck. I may try pear this weekend.

  15. I was just sure this recipe would be horrible, really, baked clementine sections? In fact, my main curiosity was how it got to be published, I mean don’t other editors check these things, and could it really be good? Thanks for testing it out for us.

  16. I used the recipe from the Times on a strawberry one this weekend after our Flickr conversation, and I have to say, I like the one you did from Ceres and Bacchus better than the NY Times one. It was *much* more buttery (and I liked it so much more that I made a second one with that recipe for us to eat). This one, with the cream in lieu of what was what, a stick of butter? left me yearning for BUTTER MORE BUTTER. SALTY GLORIOUS BUTTER. And it didn’t get that delicious crust on the top that my C&B one did. It was like caramelized sugar, and I wanted to inhale it with a vacuum cleaner, it was that good. No such crust here, ergo the powdered sugar.

    Also, I’ve kept clafoutis as long as three days. Yes, it loses some of that golden buttery crust that it gets when it’s fresh from the oven, but I agree with C&B that the leftovers make a divine breakfast with a dollop of yogurt. (Or, if you’re me and feeling saucy and maybe a little sacrilegious, Cool Whip.)

  17. Oh, my. You had me from hello on this post with the great photo. While I don’t think I am going to be trying it anytime soon based on your review, it was lovely to see the experience.

  18. Kelly

    I have been mining your site for recipes this past week and have made the forty clove garlic, fish tacos and tonight made your quick saute of zuchinni with almonds …I’ve got to say thank you because the fish tacos will now be a part of my regular meals and the quick zuchinni saute with almonds was EXCELLENT. What a surprise that something so quick could be soooo good.



  19. Cathy

    Just a little heads up on those italian pretzels. I just made them tonight, followed everything EXACT. They came out heavy, dry, crumbly, and gross. My room mates were kind enough to tell me the truth. Heh. Strangely enough, this recipe doesnt include yeast.. i wonder if other versions would be better.

  20. Mama V

    What about using canned mandarins? no skins to contend with… I would try it by draining them really well first and mayble laying them out on paper towels to make sure they’re not too liquidy… possibly worth a shot… or just eat the can aof clementines while you’re making one with cranberries and pears :)

  21. I like having clafoutis mainly because it gives me the chance to say ‘clafoutis’. Great tip about the clementines and for putting into words what many people probably only realize in the back of their mind.

  22. Sorry to hear it didn’t live up to expectations, but the custard part sounds good! Maybe topped off with some nectarines which are practically exploding with juicy awesomeness right about now.

  23. Whenever I have a surplus of apples (can anyone really have too many?) I usually make a cobbler, but this would be a great alternative!

    Beautiful photos. Thanks for the great recipes!

  24. clafoutis-toutis

    could you make a huge version of this in a sheet pan or brownie pan?
    (using your pan converter and multiplying the recipe)
    or would that be a bad idea?

  25. I can just imagine the bitterness from the Clementine! Berries sound wonderful in that recipe. I made a lychee and ginger clafoutis last summer when lychee was in season. Was delicious!

  26. Deb, have you tried the pear clafoutis from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris? It’s one of my favorites, and you can often find decent pears this time of year. Sometimes I feel like Bittman is phoning it in (as in this case).

  27. Clara

    Thank you for the confirmation. I did try the NYT recipes and the clementines were utterly inedible-the custard was okay; as I am not really a baker, I thought it was me. I may try another fruit or just skip it and some decadent-chocolatey thing instead. Thanks for all your other wonderful recipes! My whole family has been enjoying them.

  28. What was Mark Bittman thinking? I have to say I have rarely (actually, I think never) enjoyed a recipe of his. There is always something missing or not quite right. I almost wonder if he actually eats the finished product.

    But I digress, I made a great blackberry clafoutis (technically a flaugnarde since it is made without cherries) a while back. I liked it even better than the cherry or raspberry ones I’ve had in the past.

  29. Beautiful pictures. I’m saving it to tray another day. I just came here to check your blog, and now vote for it at Bloggies (I’m there too). I couldn’t resist to your delicious pictures of food.

  30. laurie

    I also saw, and made, the clementine clafoutis. It was wonderful! As Christine (#20) said, it is important to pull off the bitter white pith from the sections. I also cut off the “core” membrane, using a small, sharp paring knife. The first task was not so time consuming, the second, a bit more, because I was using seed-ful mandarins, and I seed the sections while trimming them. My clafoutis was sweet and tender; while it was quite nice warm from the oven, it was much better room temp (aka slightly chilled): the sections of fruit were brilliant, bursting with a juiciness that, really, only citrus fruits can do.

    I also recommend taste-testing at least one segment from each fruit that you use, as you can decline to use any that have any hint of bitterness–I find that if one segment has bitter-ish pith,the rest of that fruit will, too. Picky? Yes, but tasting as you go and taking care is what makes it easier to make amazing dishes in the home kitchen than in the restaurant, catering, or otherwise large-scale kitchen. I think it might have added 10 or 15 minutes to the prep time.

    I liked this clafoutis so much that I think I’ll make another for tonight’s snack…

    Little known fact: Mandarins (aka tangerines, after the port of Tangiers where particular mandarin cultvars were shipped to the US), are not a cross between ranges and another citrus fruit. Mandarins (Citrus reticulata) are among the three original families, along with pummelos and citrons. Every other kind of citrus fruit — oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and all the rest — are hybrids resulting from cross-breeding among these three groups. And Clementines are just one named variety—page, satsuma, pixie, honey are others that are commonly grown for the market. Each has different attributes such as when they ripen (early, mid, late season); sweetness; dryness/juiciness; size of pulp; seediness; ease of peeling; and yes, bitter pithiness. So your success with this recipe could also be contingent on the actual variety of fruit that you use.

  31. Moriah

    What a shame you didn’t like your clafoutis! Baked citrus can be lovely, but in my experience, only without the little section-defining membranes. Unless the fruit undergoes some sort of dis-embitterment process, like curing in sugar for Shaker Lemon Pie (mmm), the white parts are inedible.

  32. viva

    I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS SITE!! I’m sure you get that all the time and very well deserved might I add. It’s a relief to see/know it’s not just me who loves and adores food with such detail and mothering intensity, I think I love you!:o) Anywho, just wanted to say after only 7hrs on your site for the third day in a row and printing just about all of your recipes, I’m gonna have to agree with you about the clementines. As much as I love a good clementine and painstakingly pick them I would never consider tainting that wonderfully sweet and refreshing juice with heat! Isn’t that the very thing we enjoy them for: to combat Indian summer or Central California winter heat(the best time to visit the central coast is October, November and December-70 degrees for Christmas, what are you gonna do?). Just wanted to thank you for such an innovative site(I can now call home so keep it comin!) and to beg you for a coconut macaroon recipe. Such a simple thing I know but by now, I trust your tastebuds(although I like the idea of nutmeg in your creamy mac n’ cheese, I’ll test it and let you know:o) and have thrown out half of my simple recipes(chocolate chip cookies, brownies, zucchinni bread…) and replaced them with the ones from your site. So what do you say, help me out? I’d like to dip them with the Ganache glaze from the Brownie Mosaic Cheescake-that woman is genious, pure GENIOUS. Thanks again!

  33. Rats! I have a big box of clementines in my kitchen that I’m peeling and eating my way through (and loving) but I’ve been looking for other ways to use them all before they start to go bad. When I saw your pictures before the jump I thought I was in luck . . . but Laurie’s (#44’s) experience to the contrary, I don’t think I’m going to risk it! Thanks for the great post.

  34. John

    I just made this recipe tonight and it was extraordinary. We had to be patient and not dig in too quickly because the clementine sections were hot and would burst with sweet goodness! The slight caramelized crust on the top and the bottom/sides were a treat as well. For more ‘crust’ I might make them in individual custard cups the next time.

  35. Jim

    Maybe guys like things less sweet, sharpened with an edge of bitterness.

    I have done the Bittman recipe twice with complete success, and am doing it again
    this evening accompanied with a side of “bittersweet dark chocolate”

  36. Aimee

    Hello from snowy Vermont. I’ve been lurking for a while and thought I’d finally chime in. I made this recipe exactly like Bittman suggested and was disappointed too. I had high hopes as we love our clementines here, but the fruit did not hold up well to baking. I don’t think it was the quality of the clementines as they had been delicious to eat out of hand. The clementines when baked lost their juiciness, flavor and sweetness. But, the batter underneath was delicious. Yup, I did pick off all the stringy pith and don’t think that was the problem. I have made a clafoutis (not Bittman’s recipe) with plums in the fall that we enjoyed and I will try Bittman’s batter recipe with plums or other ripe, juicy fruits. On another note, I’m about to go off and bake up your blondies recipe for a houseful of kids who are hungry from romping in the several feet of fresh snow we have here (more is falling as I type). Kudos on a lovely, interesting site.

  37. Mark

    I made this recipe in four individual souffle dishes after removing any bitter strings from the clementines. The batter puffed up and over the dishes enveloping the sweet clementine sections in a lovely, dense, lightly carmelized custard. They made such a big impression on my guests who each loved their individual clafouti. Lightly sweet, lightly acid, and a beautiful custard who could ask for more?

  38. LindaG

    This is the first time that I have ever done this. I had read the recipe for the clementine clafoutis in the NYT and promptly misplaced it. Since it sounded good, I googled for the recipe and came upon this site! I SHOULD HAVE BELIEVED THE MAJORITY! After three of us spending over an hour removing membranes from each clementine section (the night before Thanksgiving), I baked the clafoutis as everyone ate the turkey dinner. I looked lovely coming out of the oven – the clementines were tough, chewy and did nothing for the dish – the custard was delicious and next year I will pit summer cherries and try them – or peaches – citrus slices don’t do it! Thanks for trying to put me on the right track – next time I will believe!

  39. syl

    Found your site by purely wonderful accident! Can citrus be candied the way they used to candy apple slices in Chinese restaurants? Was wondering if maybe candied sections of the clementines baked into the clafouti might work–sugar coating would melt into the batter and leave still succulent fruit? Am in CA so never saw the orig. recipe in paper.

  40. Nina

    I made this with apples last night. It came out wonderful! I cooked the apples on the stove-top with sugar and cinnamon and then baked everything up. It definitely took longer than the 40 min you recommended Deb, but sooo worth the wait.

  41. John Eddy

    Clementinis Non Gratis

    Wish I had read up on this before making it with Clementines ( NY Times mark Bittman) because the result I got was an overwhelming bitterness from the cooked clementines.

    Also had to cook it about 55 minutes, but that may be because I used jumbo eggs.

  42. Rox

    I saw this recipe a few days after it was posted and since then I’ve wanted to try it. Of course I had to wait until I had only apples to work with, but it came out great. I used an oval dish and the batter quantity was perfect for it, but I had to let bake for 70 minutes. I sliced the apples instead of cutting them into cubes, and I think next time I’ll throw some almond slices over it 10 minutes before taking them out.

  43. Travels4Food

    I tried this too, and it was GOD AWFUL, for exactly the vividly-expressed reasons you stated. I usually find Mark Bittman to be an excellent recipe source and I’ll try just about anything with a custard base, but this was a horror show. Thankfully I made it for very kind friends who stammered “no, really, it’s…well…maybe just this piece was bitter…” I found the clementines even made the custard bitter. At any rate, I laughed out loud when I saw your post title, and am relieved to know it wasn’t just my inexperience with baking that caused the fiasco. Thanks.

  44. Jinhee

    I’ve terrorized my friends and neighbors with badly baked citrus more than once, so I know exactly what happened to your (lovely) clafoutis.

    Citrus fruit, papery skins and often piths included, taste wonderful cooked, baked, sauteed, whatever. The seeds on the other hand, release a very bitter taste when cooked. If the seeds are not removed prior to cooking, an otherwise perfect dish/dessert will be doomed. So you’ve got to remove all the seeds.

    Of course, most fruits are cooked without their seeds for similar reasons. (Peach stone pie? Pass.) The problem arises with citrus simply because it is customary to peel and section citrus fruits without a knife. Which makes it very easy to forget about removing seeds. Voila! Disaster strikes once again… :)

  45. Lindy

    My first clafoutis last week was apple, and had much less sugar (from a different recipe). I found that it made an excellent breakfast for the next few days: fruit, eggs, milk, low sugar; it seemed pretty logical!

  46. Emilie

    the first time i had clementine clafoutis was at my adopted grandmother’s (Meme) in strasbourg, france. she made it like it was no big deal, and sprinkled some coconut on top when serving, and it wasn’t too sweet, really liked it. one thing i did notice was she used canned tangerines (had no idea they were available in france. the cake part was really light and fluffy (made me think, when i learned about clafoutis later on, that maybe it wasn’t that). but one thing i noticed, especially from the pictures here and from meme using canned tangerines, i think the fruit should have no skin or membranes on them for it to work, i think the clementines need to be cut apart like how jacques pepin always does it when making fruit salad.

  47. Rebecca

    Have you tried this recipe with your fresh Clementines cut into supremes? I would instinctively do this just to get the orange pith (which can add a hint of bitterness) & skin (which do not have a fun texture to most people) out of the recipe.

    I didn’t read all of the comments, so forgive me if I am suggesting something redundant.

  48. Louise

    Long time lurker, first time posting. I cannot not post! I just made this with fresh Strawberries and Blueberries. Luckily I cut the recipe to a 1/3 because I ate the WHOLE pan, OK 6 inch glass pie dish… that’s not a lot right? I could not stop myself – dollops of Greek yogurt. Absolutely delish, will be my go to breakfast for lazy weekends… thanks Deb.

  49. natralove

    ok i just did this for my employer i improvised a little with the clementines i took the pulp out along with the seeds added a little sugar thinking of adding a dash of orange zest or brandy or vanilla extract

  50. Karley

    Just did the clafoutis but with blood plums and blackberries – delicious!! Totally agree re citrus being baked!!! I have sooooo many nectarines and blood plums that I don’t know what to do with them all – will have to start getting a bit more creative and fast!
    Thanks Deb :)

  51. Taryn

    I made this for a birthday dinner yesterday with fresh figs from my neighbours garden. They were a little underripe so I boiled them in port and brandy with vanilla essence & cinnamon sugar, then let them sit overnight. The result was delicious! the baked custard was sensational and it was a hit with the whole family. Thanks for the recipe!

  52. Rebecca

    I just pulled this out of the oven, and after reading the comments I’m nervous…I didn’t remove all the little section-encasing membranes. I used extremely sweet navel oranges in the hopes that the larger sections wouldn’t get as dry (but I had this weird issue with the segments floating in the batter, giving the whole thing a sort of bloomin’-onion appearance). Oh, well. Would love to try this with raspberries or sweet black cherries.

  53. Sarah

    Hi Deb. I don’t want to be bother you again but I was just wondering how these would transport? Could I make them in small muffin tins and serve them a couple hours later? Or are these best fresh? I’m very unfamiliar with clafoutis. (I’m just trying to find an aesthetically-pleasing, not-too-sweet, sophisticated, and not run-of-the-mill sweet treat to bring to my Tet – Vietnamese New Year – family celebration tomorrow. And I really want to impress my family!)

  54. Julie

    I just saw this post looking through your website and wondered if it was the New York Times recipe from a few years ago – it was! I remember clipping the recipe and thinking “Hmmm, that looks interesting” but never made it. It looks like it was NOT a keeper…

  55. Nicole

    You know, I might just have to try this with clementines after all: skin removed and slices teased so that the granules are loosened. After everything is baked I could see them being super-tender and falling apart when threatened with a fork. Or curling into blackened shriveled hedgehog-looking things. You know, one or the other.

  56. sam

    so dont know how i got to this particular recipe but i have insight into the cooked citrus bitterness. It’s chemical. Heating any sweet citrus has a similar effect. Its the reason you use sour oranges to make orange pies etc. add a bit of sugar to sour oranges. they cook up deliciously, still taste like orange.

  57. Jacquie

    As a lover of custard and fruit, of course I adore clafoutis and I just thought I’d let you know this is my go-to recipe whenever I have leftover cream or over/underripe fruit. I must have made it dozens of times by now with all kinds of fruit, different types of flour and different combinations of cream, milk or vegan milks and it’s fabulous everytime. Thanks so much!

  58. Marlys

    Agree! The basic clafoutis recipe here is excellent and *so easy*. One of my favorite recipes. 40 minutes after pouring eggs/milk/cream/sugar/flour over sliced fruit, you have a lovely smooth custard fit for company, warm or cold. Peach is my favorite. A savory variant also works well (leave out the sugar and replace fruit with any par-cooked vegetable + herbs).

  59. andii

    It definitely can keep! I make them often for work And home. They can last at least 5 days covered in the fridge. It hasn’t lasted longer then 5 days in my fridge. Eaten well before then usually.

  60. Marianne Porter

    So I made it with seedless red grapes. And I’m afraid it was a bit of a mess. Took FOREVER to bake (after 50 minutes I cut the oven temperature back and just left it to its own devices for a while) and never did really cohere. Tasted just fine (I threw in a tablespoon of gin for the optional dash of flavor) under a layer of ice cream, but a bit of a mess.

  61. Mary

    I made this with peaches. It wasn’t done after 40 minutes—took about 60 minutes. Also, it was very sweet. Next time, I will try with 1/4 cup of sugar. I tried to add a dash of almond extract, but ended up with way too much. Next time, I’ll try 1/4 teaspoon. The texture was nice and custardy, and the peaches were perfect with it.