Saturday, July 25, 2015


Maybe you’ve never heard of this classic French dessert, or maybe you think it’s complicated. It’s not. It’s basically fresh whole cherries baked in a simple custard and I made it this afternoon for a garden party.

Clafoutis is the French spelling but of course it’s pronounced without the final “s” sound. That’s the only complicated thing about it. It’s easy and it features the gorgeous cherries that we’ve been enjoying for the past month or two.

The traditional clafoutis recipe is made with unpitted whole cherries, which are said to give it more flavour—but it didn’t feel that elegant to leave the pits in for a garden party dessert. So I headed out to buy a cherry pitter.  Now you may remember that I have a tiny kitchen and less than two years ago I was deleting all those specialized kitchen tools in the interests of fitting my stuff into one small drawer. So I was happy to find one that won’t take up too much space. This is what it looks like. 

And it can be used for pitting olives as well so it seemed worthwhile.  It was incredibly quick and easy to take the pits out of a big bag of cherries, resulting in a bowl of pitted fruit.

I did a little research online and found that even such a simple recipe has many variations. Some use sour cherries, some use sweet. Some add a little almond extract to compensate for the flavour from the cherry pits. Some suggest macerating the cherries slightly and steeping them in Kirsch, Amaretto or brandy. Some recipes call for white sugar, some brown, some icing sugar for the top. In some the custard is more like a sponge cake, in others it’s meant to be more wobbly, like a flan.

Here’s the recipe I finally came up with, mostly taken from Elise’s Simply Recipes blog ( and from Isabel’s Crumblog (

I doubled the recipe and used a big baking dish. This is the one I chose because it’s low and wide and will hold a lot. But you could do it in a frying pan, or a square baking dish, a pie dish or any type of casserole dish that’s not too deep. If you’re using a smaller dish, cut the recipe in half.

Clafoutis a la Joanna

4 cups of fresh sweet cherries, pitted
6 eggs
1  cup sugar  (plus 1 TBS for bottom of pan)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 (to 1.5) tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract.
4 TBS melted butter

Preheat oven to 350. Butter your baking dish and sprinkle bottom with  2 TBS granulated sugar. Scatter the cherries over the bottom of the dish.

Whisk eggs and sugars together with milk, melted butter and extracts. Make sure all lumps are out. Use a blender if necessary. Pour into baking dish over cherries. 

Bake for 40 minutes or more until a knife tested in centre comes out clean. Tent with foil if it’s browning too fast. (Mine actually took closer to 50 minutes but that's because I doubled the recipe I think.)

When done, place on wire rack to cool. It will be puffed up but will deflate while cooling. When cool sprinkle with powdered sugar.
When it came out of the oven it looked like the photo at the top of this post, but then it did collapse (as predicted) and I dusted it with the icing sugar.

Here’s the final result. I hope it tastes good. I’ll let you know how it tasted once we’ve returned from the garden party.

PS: It was delicious. The custard had the texture a little bit like Yorkshire pudding and the almond flavouring was really good. We served it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and it was a big hit.


  1. I have always wanted to make one. It just sounds like my kind of dessert cherries and custard !
    You can't miss.
    Now I will have to make one but my oven is always off temperature. I hope it works out.
    When family is here I will try to make one or two. One for me the second one for everyone else.
    Thanks for the recipe.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. I can't wait to make this !

      cheers, parsnip

  2. This is the first I've heard of it. It looks delicious!


I really appreciate your comments.