I love black cherries and I love stodgy, comforting puddings, so it’s a wonder I’ve not made clafoutis before now!
Clafoutis, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, is a baked French dessert of black cherries in a thick flan-like batter.
Originating in the Limousin region of France, clafoutis traditionally contains un-pitted black cherries, as the pits release additional flavour during cooking. However, these days, recipes for versions using pitted fresh cherries, and even tinned cherries, abound. A similar dessert can be made using many other fruits, from plums and prunes to apples, blackberries and even physalis, though such versions are correctly called flaugnarde, rather than clafoutis.
As I didn’t fancy spending an afternoon pitting cherries, I decided to use tinned black cherries, choosing the kind that are preserved in syrup. I created this recipe by combining elements of several different recipes I found on the web.
Clafoutis: A Black Cherry Pudding
For the cherries
500 grams tinned black cherries in syrup, drained weight
50 ml syrup, reserved from the cherries
50 ml gin, vodka or kirsch
For the batter
30 grams unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
100 grams caster sugar, plus extra for greasing and sprinkling
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
40 grams self-raising flour
50 ml milk
70 ml double cream
Drain the tinned cherries into a bowl, reserving the syrup.
Pour 50 ml of the reserved syrup and 50 ml of your chosen alcohol over the cherries and leave to macerate in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Grease a flan dish with butter and sprinkle with sugar, shaking to distribute the sugar evenly over the butter. Tip out any excess.
Heat the butter gently in a small pan until it turns a very pale brown, known as beurre noisette or hazelnut butter, after its colour. Take care not to let the butter burn, or it will taste bitter.
In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs and vanilla until well combined.
Add the flour and whisk until there are no lumps remaining, then slowly add the milk, cream, salt and browned butter.
Retrieve the cherries and carefully pour the alcoholic juices into the batter, and mix in.
Tip the cherries into the flan dish and spread them out evenly, then pour the batter over them gently.
Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a knife or skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
To finish, sprinkle with caster sugar and serve warm.
I served mine with ready-made chocolate custard, for a black forest gateaux flavour combination.
You can see from my photographs that my clafoutis stuck to the dish! That’s because I completely forgot to grease and sugar the flan dish, despite writing it down in my recipe plan. It should come out more cleanly, if you make sure you include that step.