There are some days where I wake up in the morning in the mood to bake something and more often than not, it’s something sweet =) Today just so happened to be one of those days =P I looked in the fridge to check and see what I could make with stuff I already had at hand… eggs, milk, and cream were a given, but then, there they were, tucked away in the bottom drawer, my ultimate source of inspiration… cherries! We had devoured half a bag of the super sweet, fleshy stone fruit the night before, but there was just enough left for me to make one of the simplest French dishes ever to have a super fancy name… clafoutis!
Clafoutis is a French baked dessert (that my sister absolutely loves with brunch and a nice cup of cafe au lait) that is simply fruit, most notably cherries, arranged in a dish filled with custard batter. I know, it doesn’t sound like much, but the end result is so irresistibly wonderful that Anthony and I managed to eat half the clafoutis even before dinner, haha =P The other half is awaiting its fate in the fridge until tomorrow morning when we prepare brunch =D
I still can’t decide whether or not the clafoutis tastes best warm or at room temp, but it doesn’t really matter because it’ll be delicious either way =) The secret to its moist texture and flavor is the almond flour so if you can manage to find it at a reasonable price, definitely don’t leave it out! If not, you can substitute it with regular flour, but trust me, you’ll be missing out.
This clafoutis also gets an extra flavor punch from the vanilla powder, which you can actually see when you eat it… little black specks of pure, ground vanilla bean. If you don’t have vanilla powder, you can use half a vanilla bean; split in half to expose the pulp and place it in the saucepan with the milk and cream mixture. Just remember to discard the vanilla bean before you pour the milk mixture into the batter.
I decided to pit the cherries this time (as MacGyver would with a bent paper clip) mainly for food photography purposes, but clafoutis is actually traditionally made with whole cherries left un-pitted for extra flavor. Of course, you could just as well take the less rustic route as I did and use pitted cherries or even use an entirely different variety of your favorite seasonal fruits, including apricots, pears, and berries. If you use fruits that are in season, you really don’t need much sugar to make it perfectly sweet. In fact, I’m thinking for Fourth of July weekend, I’d make one with blueberries… can you say, “YUM?”
|PREP TIME||15 Min|
|COOK TIME||30 Min|
|READY IN||1 Hr|
|1||pound cherries, pitted or un-pitted|
|1/2||cup sugar, divided|
|1||cup (100 grams) almond flour|
|1/3||cup (50 grams) all-purpose flour|
|1||teaspoon baking powder|
|pinch of salt|
|pinch of vanilla powder or 1/2 vanilla bean**|
|butter and sugar, for coating the mold(s)|
|powdered sugar, for dusting|
|Metal strainer or fine-mesh sieve|
- Preheat the oven to 340 °F.
- Butter the baking dish*. Dust with sugar, tapping out any access, and place on a baking sheet for easier transportation to and from the oven. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, warm up the milk, cream and 1/4 cup of sugar over medium-low heat just until the sugar melts and milk begins to simmer. (A bit of sugar helps prevent the milk mixture from burning on the bottom of the saucepan.)
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, vanilla powder and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Create a well in the middle. Beat the eggs in a smaller mixing bowl and pour into the well. Gently whisk, starting at the center of the well and working your way out to the edges of the bowl to prevent any lumps in the batter. Set aside.
- Sprinkle the baking powder over the warm milk mixture and whisk to combine. (You can use the same whisk you used for mixing the batter.)
- Slowly pour the frothy milk mixture over the batter and gently whisk in a stirring motion to combine. Make sure the whisk reaches the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate all of the batter.
- Pour the custard batter into the prepared baking dish* and arrange cherries on top. Bake until the custard sets and top turns golden brown, about 25-30 minutes for shallow, individual ramekins and 35-40 minutes for a whole tart pan. Let cool slightly and dust with powdered sugar using a metal strainer or fine-mesh sieve. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
- You can use shallow, individual ramekins, ceramic tart pans, or removable-bottom tart pans to make clafoutis. I used a removable-bottom tart pan with an extra layer of foil protection wrapped around the outside since the batter is quite liquid-y and might leak through during baking. Let it cool to room temperature and with a little finesse, you can release the clafoutis from the tart ring for a beautiful presentation and slice individually. (I saved a little bit of the batter to make just one individual clafoutis for pictures =P)
- If you don’t have vanilla powder, you can use 1/2 vanilla bean. Split the bean in half, length-wise and scrape out the pulp using a paring knife. Place the vanilla bean and its pulp in the saucepan with the milk mixture and continue as directed. Discard the vanilla bean before adding in the baking powder.