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by Diane Rossen Worthington

Cherry Clafoutis Dessert Recipe

Cherry pie may be an American favorite, but once you try this French style pudding you may switch your allegiance.

When it's cherry season -- which is always too short for me -- there's no better way to celebrate this sweet luscious fruit than by tucking it into a batter that puffs up into a giant baked pancake showered with confectioner's sugar. Cherry clafoutis is a true crowd pleaser, and it's the very definition of a Seriously Simple dessert.

Clafoutis -- pronounced "klah-foo-TEE" -- became popular in France in the 19th century in the province of Limousin, where they cooked the unpitted cherries in a vanilla-scented batter. Each family had their own closely guarded recipe. The thinking was that the pits added extra flavor. They obviously didn't have a cherry pitter gadget that makes pitting cherries painless and quick.

Any variety of cherry is fine to use, though I tend to prefer Bing, Queen Anne or Rainier -- the sweeter the better. Make sure to remove the stems and then pit them using a pitter. If you are really in a hurry, you can use frozen pitted cherries, but thoroughly defrost and drain them first.

Essentially a country pudding, the recipe can be served directly from an ovenproof baking dish, or you can cook it and serve it from any nonstick gratin dish or cast iron skillet that gives it a casual homey touch. This fluffy custard-style batter studded with bright red cherries bakes up into a puffy pancake that is best served right out of the oven.

Look for cherry pitters in cookware stores or on online. I am a devoted fan of the Oxo pitter (oxo.com). Use this recipe as a template for other seasonal fruits, such as apricots, peaches, plums, apples or pears. This is also good for breakfast, brunch or as an afternoon tea-time treat.

Cherry Clafoutis Dessert Recipe

Serves 6 to 8.

1 cup granulated sugar, divided

3 cups pitted fresh sweet cherries or thawed, drained frozen cherries

1 cup all-purpose (plain) flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

4 large eggs

1 3D4 cups half-and-half

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Confectioners' sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Butter a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Place the baking dish on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the bottom of the dish with 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar. Spread the cherries in the bottom of the dish and bake for 10 minutes. There may be a lot of juice; do not drain. Set aside.

2. While the cherries are cooking, in a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs with 3D4 cup of the granulated sugar until blended, about 1 minute. Add the flour mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the half-and-half in 1 addition. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and stir to combine.

3. Pour the batter over the cherries. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the top with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately.

Clafoutis Dessert Recipe, French Cuisine




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"Cherry Clafoutis Dessert"


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