Clafoutis (pronounced klah-foo-tee), a rustic French dessert, was one of my go-to seasonal treats to offer guests at last-minute dinner parties when I lived in Provence. Often enjoyed in the summer to highlight fragrant cherries and apricots, it’s both comforting, with a creamy custardy center, and makes for an elegant way to sweeten a summer supper.
If you’re new to clafoutis, think pancake-like batter that bakes into a soft custard with bursts of tart fruit. A bread pudding sans bread. Traditionally, the cherries are not pitted, but if you prefer to pit yours, feel free to do so. Other options include blueberries and stone fruits, such as plum and peach, which you will want to pit but don’t need to peel. Keep in mind that larger, ripe fruit might release more liquid than smaller cherries and blueberries and take slightly longer to bake; keep an eye on it because you want to enjoy it just slightly jiggly in the center. If you’re feeling adventurous, omit the sugar and add some cheese, for a savory version, and experiment with everything from olives and thyme, to tomatoes, roasted garlic and basil, etc. The idea is to throw in what’s seasonal and to keep it simple.
Summer fruit clafoutis
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted softened butter, divided
1 1/2 pounds fruit such as cherries, blueberries, peaches, plums, etc. (see note)
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 teaspoon
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour OR 1/2 cup all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons almond flour (ground almond meal)
2 tablespoons slivered or sliced almonds (optional)
Powdered sugar, for serving (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease a shallow baking dish (about 1 1/2-inches deep) like a cast-iron skillet or 9-inch pie plate with some of the butter; cut remaining butter into 4 or 5 pieces and reserve for top. If using fresh cherries, remove stems and pits, if desired. If using apricots or peaches or nectarines, remove and discard pits, and cut in quarters (no need to peel). Scatter fruit in a single layer in the dish.
2. In a blender or using an immersion blender and a bowl, combine 1/3 cup of the sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla and almond extracts just until smooth. Add flour and pulse just to combine. Pour batter over fruit and sprinkle the top with remaining 1 teaspoon sugar and the reserved pats of butter. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until custard is just set and a knife inserted in center comes out mostly clean. The clafoutis will be puffed up but will settle as it cools. It’s best warm or at room temperature but can also be served chilled.
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