The incomparable Felicity Cloake did her usual forensic research on the perfect Cherry Clafoutis.
Below is the recipe I’ve used for years & years. After doing loads of reading myself, I opt to keep the cherries stone-in for added flavour, even though that means a bit of spitting out when enjoying this luscious dessert (see footnote).
Serves: 6 – 8
- Cold unsalted butter, for greasing
- 400-420g fresh cherries, weighed whole after stalks removed (about 30)
for a plum version, see my other recipe
- 3 large eggs (weighing 180-195g in total in the shell)
- 60g caster sugar (golden is best, but white will suffice)
- 300ml whole milk (315g if weighing)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (with seeds, if possible)
- 60g plain or self-raising flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder (don’t add if using self-raising flour)
- scant 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- scant 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- scant 1/4 tsp ground allspice, or ground nutmeg
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish
- A 9″/23cm round stoneware or glass pie dish, at least 2″/5cm deep
- A large mixing bowl
- A manual whisk
- A sieve
- Cooling rack
- Preheat oven to 180 C (160 C fan-assisted). Butter your pie dish well.
- Arrange the whole cherries in a single layer in the bottom of your pie dish.
- Whisk the eggs and caster sugar in a large bowl until frothy and pale. Add the milk and vanilla and whisk until very bubbly.
- Sift the flour, baking powder (if using), and spices into the wet ingredients, and whisk until it’s fully combined.
- Pour the batter over the cherries until fully covered. Depending on the depth of your pie dish, you may not use all the batter. (If you have a bit left over, it makes a truly excellent pancake, fried in a teeny amount of butter.)
- Carefully transfer the pie dish to the oven. Bake for around 40 minutes (carefully turn dish halfway through for even baking) until the batter is puffed, golden, and fully set, i.e, the centre doesn’t wobble when you jiggle the pie dish.
- Remove the dish from the oven to a cooling rack.
- Once the clafoutis has cooled for about 10 minutes, portion onto plates, dust with icing sugar, and grate some fresh nutmeg over each serving.
Cherries –> Stone-in, or Not?
I’ve always left the stones in when making Cherry Clafoutis, after reading the history of this rustic French dish. Cherry stones add a bit of almond-like flavour; and as a peasant dish, no-one making this traditionally would worry about the spitting-stones issue whilst eating.
If you don’t want a biting or choking hazard when serving this to guests, though, please do stone your fruit. If you do so, add 1/2 tsp almond extract (not ‘essence’) to the batter.
I love spices so even though that’s not traditional, I always put them in. Other ways you could personalise this recipe are adding the finely grated zest of 1/2 an unwaxed lemon, or the finely grated zest of 1/4 an orange, over the cherries before pouring in the batter. Plenty of more ‘refined’ recipes advocate adding up to 2 tablespoons kirsch (cherry liqueur) to the batter, although if using that I’d also sprinkle that over the cherries rather than putting it into the batter.
As always, the photography is pants – I have an ancient Nokia with a scratched lens, and therefore no fancy filters like you get with smartphones. The batter really isn’t that dark, but, hey-ho.