Clafoutis aux cerises from the French country kitchen
Clafoutis is a French dessert cake made from fresh cherries in a thick batter, it is a surprisingly simple dish with the classic look of the so often celebrated French country kitchen. As befits a good traditional dish, there are many varieties of the cherry clafoutis, some call for some spirits like kirsch or dark rum, others do without. Then there is the question of a whole vanilla pod, the pith from the pod or vanilla extract, do you use boiled milk and cream or do you simply mix all the ingredients together? You will get answers to these probing questions, let’s get started!
Eating clafoutis in the cherry season, an ancient French tradition
The original clafoutis is always made in France during the cherry season, the cake is served warm as a dessert, usually sprinkled with a little icing sugar. A variant of the clafoutis is the “flaugnarde” which is not made with cherries but with other fruits. Clafoutis aux cerises originates from the Limousin, where it has been eaten since time immemorial.
In the traditional clafoutis aux cerises from this French region, cherries with stones are used, but the question is whether your guests will appreciate this today. After all, it becomes an unbecoming mess when during dessert one has to elaborately work every bite in the mouth, resulting in a pit that one then wants to put somewhere.
In this recipe it is therefore assumed that you pitted the cherries. Do this carefully and convince yourself that a pit does not remain under the radar and disappear unnoticed into the cake, as this can cause serious damage to the teeth. If you decide to work in accordance with the tradition and not to stone the cherries, point out the danger to your dinner companions! When you have pitted the cherries, you then have the choice to halve them or leave them whole, the latter is surely the best and with a good cherry stoner that does not have to be a problem.
Choose the right cherries for the clafoutis
Traditionally black cherries are used in a clafoutis, these large dark shiny cherries are nice and sweet and are therefore best in this dish. To name a few varieties: the Mierlose Zwarte, famous for its special taste, the Prunus Narana, nice and sweet and large dark fruits, the Prunus Annabella, sweet, large and dark in color with a long stem and the Prunus Burlat, this is one of the most sold, a red-black cherry with very tasty juicy flesh.
A good greengrocer knows his classics and can advise you on the choice of your cherries, it is of course even more fun to pick the cherries yourself, which is possible at numerous cherry orchards in our country.
Recipe for clafoutis:
- 1½ pounds of cherries, washed and dried,
- 200 ml of whole milk
- 100 ml heavy cream
- 100 grams fromage blanc (cream cheese such as Monchou)
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 120 grams of granulated sugar
- 120 grams of sifted flour
- a good pinch of salt
- 1 vanilla pod, cut open lengthwise
- 1½ to 2 tablespoons of Kirsch or another cherry brandy
- butter to grease the baking dish
- powdered sugar for garnish
The kirsch is optional, if the cake is also for children, leave it out.
Preparation of the clafoutis:
- Preheat the oven to 190 ° Celsius,
- take an oven dish of at least 2 liters capacity and grease it,
- seed the cherries, make sure you don’t forget a stone,
- divide the cherries over the bottom of the bowl,
- put the milk, cream and cream cheese in a large saucepan,
- scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add them to the milk mixture,
- put it on low heat and beat the cream cheese until well mixed,
- bring the mixture to a boil and then immediately remove it from the heat,
- meanwhile beat the eggs in a mixing bowl,
- little by little add the sugar and beat the mixture for 2 minutes,
- little by little add the sifted flour so that it does not lump,
- beat until the mixture is nice and smooth,
- add a little bit of the warm milk cream mixture while stirring,
- keep stirring while gradually adding the rest of the warm milk cream mixture with the vanilla pod,
- add the salt and the kirsch, keep stirring until you have a nice homogeneous batter,
- pour the batter over the cherries and place the dish in the center of the oven,
- the vanilla pod can remain in it, you only remove it during serving,
- bake the clafoutis for 30 to 40 minutes until it is nicely browned and firm when you press lightly on the top,
- let the cake cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
You can serve the clafoutis warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with a little icing sugar.
It is sometimes said that the batter resembles pancake batter but that is not entirely true, after all, cream and cream cheese are also used, more eggs are used and the fact that cream, cream cheese and milk are heated first ensures that the texture is different, in addition, the use of a vanilla pod and kirsch provide a completely different taste sensation.