If you are looking for the perfect, quick, simple and delicious dessert to use up all the amazing fruit and berries that are bursting forth around us, look no further than the classic clafoutis. The clafoutis, often known as clafouti, comes to us from the Limousin region in France, traditionally made with un-pitted black cherries. If you want to be real stickler about it, this dessert, made with any other fruit other than the aforementioned cherries is known as a flaugnarde. But no matter. The dessert police will not jail you if you call it a clafouti!
The clafouti is kind of like a flan or pudding; fresh fruit or berries are arranged in a buttered dish-a cast iron pan works well too- the batter is poured over and the pan is popped in the oven to bake until it turns a beautiful light golden colour and puffs up a bit. It is then removed from the oven, dusted with a little icing sugar and maybe thick cream and served while still warm.
In the winter, dried fruit like currants or apricots with nuts like almonds, pistachios or hazelnuts work well, but in the summer and fall, nothing beats fresh cherries, raspberries, wild blueberries, concord grapes, gooseberries or service berries that split open during the baking process, adding their bubbling sweet juices to the mix.
Our friend David Chow posted a tantalizing picture the other day of clafoutis that he had made using fresh Ontario Mulberries and red currants, and that got us all fired up to make some clafoutis using a variety of berries. David made his in tart shells which he just happened to have on hand; a great idea for making dainty individual clafouti that can travel easily. We served ours cold with a little whipped cream and it made for a wonderful late night snack.
Here’s a basic recipe for clafoutis. You could use any combination of fresh fruit or keep it all one fruit. And maybe in the fall we’ll try it again with cranberries!
Clafoutis- adapted from Julia Child
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
3 cups berries
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon icing sugar sugar
Pre-heat oven to 350F. Blend the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour. Pour a layer of the batter in a buttered baking dish or cast iron pan. Place in the oven until a film of batter sets in the pan. Remove from the heat and spread the berries over the batter. Sprinkle on the 1/3 cup of sugar. Pour on the rest of the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for about for about 45 minutes to an hour. The clafouti is done when puffed and brown and a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean. Serve warm or chilled, sprinkled with icing sugar and or thick cream.