Cherries, Baby! Clafouti Time

I dream of summertime French breakfasts,

when fruit laden clafouti is often the star.

The fruit – most often pitted fresh cherries or halved apricots – is baked adrift in a thick, flan-like batter. It’s pancake-y delicious.

According to Paris-based cookbook author David Lebovitz, clafouti batter is based on a crêpe batter, so unlike a traditional custard, it contains some flour; the texture is somewhat dense, the thick batter ensures that any juices that escape from the cherries or apricots is well-contained.

For years I used my mother’s one-at-a-time cherry pitter, but a couple of years ago I splurged and bought a fancy gizmo at Sur La Table that pits six cherries at once. It makes short work of the job. Although I haven’t given it a test drive, they sell one now for $19.95 that pits seven cherries.

Imagine.

Clafouti can be served warm, room temperature or cold for breakfast or as a rustic dessert topped with whipped cream.

David Lebovitz’ Cherry Clafouti
Yield: about 6 servings
Soft butter for greasing dish
1 1/4 pounds fresh sweet cherries, about 4 cups measured with stems and pits
3 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/3 cup whole or low-fat milk
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Smear a 2-quart shallow baking dish liberally with butter, such as a gratin dish.
2. Stem and pit cherries; place in a single layer in the baking dish.
3. In a standard blender, or using an immersion blender and a bowl, mix eggs, flour, vanilla and almond extracts, 1/2 cup sugar, and milk together until smooth. Pour batter over cherries and sprinkle fruit and batter with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
4. Bake the clafoutis until the custard is just set; a knife poked in the center should emerge relatively clean. It will take about 45 minutes. The clafouti can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. It’s traditionally not served with any accompaniment, but if serving as a dessert a small dollop of whipped cream can be used atop each serving.

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