A Clafoutis To Remember

French women are famously fastidious eaters, as we all know. Unless faced with this clafoutis, that is, in which case all bets are off. Recently I watched two women (for some reason clafoutis is considered to be kind of a feminine dessert) delicately sigh their way through generous servings, and then, apologizing just a little, just for form’s sake really, dive right in to seconds.

I had always found clafoutis ( pronounced klah-foo-tee) to be a bit insipid; after all, it’s more or less fruit baked in pancake batter. But this time, combining two different recipes that I found on the French website Marmiton.org I made the queen of clafoutis, a memorable clafoutis that will enchant all cherry lovers and encourage them to excessive consumption.  After all, cherries are only once a year, and it’s our duty to eat as many of them as possible during that sweet season.

The French believe that leaving the pits in the cherries makes the clafoutis more flavorful. It’s certainly easier on the cook, and provides lots of opportunity for playful pit-spitting and juicy red fingers when you serve the dessert.  The squeamish may pit their cherries, but if you want the real deal, leave your cherries intact.  As it were.

Cherry Clafoutis

For the cherries:
1 1/2 lbs perfectly ripe cherries, stems removed, unpitted
1 T butter
1 T sugar

For the batter:
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
a pinch of salt
5 T flour
5 T sugar
2 ounces butter
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
extra butter for topping

In a large non-stick pan melt the 1T butter and 1T sugar.  Add the cherries and let them slowly caramelize over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the juices begin to run and the cherries look glazed, about 10-15 minutes.  Butter a 9×13″ pan and place the cherries in it, distributing them evenly.

Preheat oven to 350° and while the cherries are cooling a bit, prepare the batter. Melt the butter in a small pan or bowl and set aside.  Beat the eggs well with the salt, using a whisk. Beat in the sugar, then sprinkle in the flour while continuing to whisk until batter is smooth.

Mix together the milk, melted butter, and vanilla and add it to the dry mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter carefully over the cherries in the pan, being careful to keep the fruit evenly distributed.  Generously dot the top with little slivers of butter.  Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top is puffed and deeply golden. Serve warm or at room temperature, warning your guests about the pits.

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8 Comments on “A Clafoutis To Remember”


  1. they look like sour cherries however SELDOM do I see sour cherries, i.e. Montmorency, Early Richmond in my German farmers market. Perhaps those labeled sour are Morello ? At any rate, which do you recommend? Are sour more available in Fr? I will be in Nuits St Georges next week and perhaps find a better source. In either case, I will sure make this one.

  2. Abra Bennett Says:

    No, they’re sweet eating cherries. There’s not much sugar in this recipe, I don’t think you could make it with sour cherries without tweaking the sugar amounts. I’ve never actually seen sour cherries in France.

  3. Sue Geisler Says:

    I picked at least eight qurts of Montmorency cheries from my back yard tree this past weekend and there are more ripening fully. I think I can add some sugar to the recipe and they will be fine. My pie recipe takes about a cup of sugar to four cups of cherries which gives me a yardstick. The tree was a mere twig given to me by an old cook’s forum contributor, Molly McGinnis, when I first bought the house 11 years ago. It’s now as high as the house.
    A splash of Amaretto might be good.

  4. jessica Says:

    I can’t wait to try this Abra. We love clafoutis and usually do peaches and blackberry with mace in the batter. I may have to take the pits out, as I have already broken one tooth on a pit. Thanks for another great recipe!

  5. Stephanie Says:

    Abra,
    I made this for Charles last night and it was fantastic. The leftovers today are nothing to sneeze at either, though a mere shadow of the goodness we had yesterday. Thanks for a great recipe.

  6. Diane Darrow Says:

    This recipe is FABULOUS. Before this I’d never made or had a clafoutis that wasn’t disappointing — nothing more interesting than a heavyish fruit pancake. Caramelizing the cherries made all the difference (well, the light, rich batter probably deserves some credit too), and made it possible to de-pit each “virgo intacta” cherry with ease and grace.

    Thank you so much for the recipe, Abra.

  7. Abra Bennett Says:

    I am so glad you guys are enjoying this clafoutis. It’s a revelation, when you’ve been used to the stodgy thing that usually passes for clafoutis.


  8. […] is Ms. Bennett’s writing style. Here’s her final remark about the recipe (which she provides in full): “The squeamish may pit their cherries, but if you want the real deal, leave your cherries […]


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