French Cherry Clafoutis is a fruity speciality from the Limousin region, traditionally made with cherries. It’s a popular family dish that all French home cooks have up their sleeve.
It’s also one of my French Mother-in-law’s specialities and one of my husband’s best loved classic desserts. If we’re lucky enough to visit Antoine’s parents in Provence in the early summer, Madeleine proudly rustles up her cherry baked custard dessert with Burlat cherries. Freshly plucked from the neighbour’s orchard with his permission, of course.
French Clafoutis – Pitted Cherries or Leave Whole?
So many clafoutis recipes call for pitted cherries. Like it’s traditionally made in the Limousin, Madeleine normally throws in the whole cherries as they are and most of us politely dispose of the stones at the table. I say most of us, as Antoine – in his more natural Corsican style – rocks on the back of his chair, plotting his target as he catapults and projects them less than delicately into the garden – “Heh, je plante!“, he shrugs at us all. It’s his Corsican sense of humour of saying he’s planting cherry trees. Oh, pl-ease!
I may mock but whole, unpitted cherries do keep in their flavour better, and it’s far quicker than standing over the kitchen table with dark cherry-stained hands looking like Jack (or Jill) the Ripper. So just throw them in as they are naturally then get the family to do the gardening at the table. Otherwise pit them if you prefer, especially if you have a cherry stone extractor as part of your kitchen gadgetry.
Gluten Free Cherry Clafoutis Recipe
This recipe uses a little flour but to make a gluten free version, replace with half the amount of cornflour or cornstarch (Maïzena in France).
See my other gluten free Strawberry Clafoutis recipe made with ground almonds or pistachios on video. It’s so versatile using other fresh summer fruits too! For example, it also works deliciously well with almonds in this Blueberry and Lemon Clafoutis and with Raspberry and Lemon Verbena too.
FRENCH CLAFOUTIS (Cherry Baked Custard) RECIPE
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F (gas 4). Butter an ovenproof china or pyrex dish (22cm diameter and 5cm deep) large enough to hold the cherries in a single layer. Sprinkle in the sugar, shaking it all around so that it coats the surface of the dish and place the cherries in it.
2. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs and yolk and, using a balloon whisk, mix well until the mixture is smooth. Continue whisking adding the milk, almond extract and melted butter. Pour over the cherries.
3. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until browned. Toast the flaked almonds in a non-stick frying pan for a few minutes on medium heat until they’re golden and sprinkle on the Clafoutis with a dusting of icing/confectioner’s sugar.
Serve warm (not hot) or chilled directly from the dish.
Savoury Clafoutis Recipe
Have you tried this savoury asparagus clafoutis yet? It’s a delicious light and summery supper dish with parmesan sauce.
For more easy dishes that we make ‘en famille’, see our family’s favourite French Classic recipes.
French Classic Cherry Clafoutis
For the ovenproof dish:
- 10 g (1 tbsp) butter
- 10 g (1 tbsp) sugar
- 500 g (18oz) fresh black cherries washed, not pitted
- 70 g (2.5oz) plain flour (all-purpose)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- good pinch salt (fleur de sel)
- 3 eggs organic
- 1 egg yolk
- 75 g (3oz) sugar
- 225 ml (8fl oz) full-cream milk
- 3 drops almond extract or 1 Tbsp Kirsch/Amaretto liqueur
- 1 tbsp slivered almonds to garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F (gas 6). Butter an ovenproof china or pyrex dish (22cm diameter and 5cm deep) large enough to hold the cherries in a single layer. Sprinkle in the sugar, shaking it all around so that it coats the surface of the dish and place the cherries in it.
- Combine the flour (or cornflour), salt, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl. Using a balloon whisk, mix in the eggs and yolk until the mixture is smooth. Continue whisking adding the milk, almond extract or Kirsch. Pour over the cherries then sprinkle over the almonds.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until browned.