Thursday, February 5, 2009


For starters a little pronunciation.  KLAW - foo - tee.  Clafoutis is a classic French dessert.  It is a very simple unleavened batter poured over the sauteed fruit and baked until fluffy.  Very light and extremely tasty.

Over Christmas we had a raging debate over dinner.  Mike B insisted that you are either a "London" person or a "Paris" person, you cannot like both cities.  I took the complete opposite.  I think you can love both cities and for different reasons.  The table soon divided into the two camps.  The debate was unresolved.  My mind wasn't changed, neither was his.  Good debate.

Not to slam the Brits as I can say I never had a bad meal while in London.  Paris is an eaters delight.  From Bistros to the funky immigrant restaurants the food is pretty amazing no matter where you go.  Their chocolate and hot chocolate is absolutely the best Think warm cream with chocolate melted in. Heavenly rich and sinful.  My first real clafoutis was there over such a hot chocolate in a little sidewalk cafe near our hotel and La Tour Eiffel.  

My recipe is culled from one we used for a neighborhood Iron Chef themed on Provence.  I dug it up for one of the gang who didn't know what to make.  It was a hit.  For mine I decided to up the ante and make it a clafoutis with attitude.  I learned long ago if you want something to be cherry-er you add almond extract.  The two share similar flavinoids and it just boosts the cherry to a more intense flavor.  The other bit I added was the cherry brandy...makes the caramel very cherry with just a nice hint of brandy.  

Note to self.  Next time I make it just get frozen dark sweet cherrys and skip the whole pitting of the fresh.  Its a lot of work and your fruit get's butchered.  Doesn't affect taste but presentation its not so nice to see hacked up fruit.  The recipe:

  • 1/2 cup (70 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) milk
  • 1/4 t almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 pound fresh sweet cherries, pitted
1 tablespoon (13 grams) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated white sugar
1 T Cherry Brandy

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven.  
Wash the cherries, remove the stems and pits. 

For the Clafoutis Batter:  In mix bowl place all the batter ingredients.  Beat for about 45 - 60 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Once the batter is completely smooth, let it rest while you prepare the fruit. 

In a large 9- or 10- inch heavy (nonstick if you have one) ovenproof skillet melt the butter over medium heat making sure the melted butter coats the bottom and sides of the pan.  When the butter is bubbling, add the pitted cherries, and cook until the cherries have softened a bit and are coated with butter (2 - 3 minutes).  Then sprinkle the cherries with the sugar and cook until the sugar has dissolved and turns into a syrup (1 - 2 minutes). Remove pan from flame and stir in cherry brandy.

Pour the batter over the cherries and bake for about 20 minutes or until the clafoutis is puffed, set, and golden brown around the edges.   Do not open the oven door until the end of the baking time or it may collapse.  Serve immediately with a dusting of confectioners sugar or whipped cream.
The resting is important as it allows the glutens to relax and lets the batter puff while baking.

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