We think the first time we saw a recipe for clafoutis (it was a cherry clafoutis) we knew we wanted to make it. It looked so good, mmm. But, for a long time — over a year — we didn’t make one. Why? Well, we guess that we somehow thought that something called clafoutis would be difficult. After all, it’s hard to pronounce, and it’s a traditional French dish, which we thought would be hard to make, too. A double whammy! (If you add the cost of fresh cherries, perhaps a triple whammy).
We’re not going to help you pronounce clafoutis, and we sure won’t help you finance any fruit you buy, but we will tell you that even though this is a traditional French dessert, it’s not difficult. We’d even say that it’s so easy, that if you’re new to baking desserts, this might just be the one with which to start. (It’s as easy as making pancake batter, really). We’re sure that once you have a recipe like this under your belt — take that however you want, no judgements here — you’ll be scracthin’ something up regularly.
Oh, and we based this recipe on Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Whole Cherry Clafoutis, which you can find in Around my French Table.
If you can get them locally, or even pick them yourself, get your raspberries from someplace nearby. It will make a big difference in the flavor and that’s what you want. Eggs, from happy hens that eat grass, bugs, and live like hens. Better for the hens, better for you, with the side benefit of being better-tasting, too. Heavy cream; don’t skimp, buy a high quality organic if you can. It won’t have thickeners that make it appear thick and creamy, it’ll be thick and creamy on its own. And, as if you didn’t know, imitation vanilla, is not vanilla. Period.
Procedure in detail:
Wash and drain berries. Place the raspberries in a colander and give them a good rinsing. Let drain, or even pat dry with a towel.
Preheat oven to 350°F. To help the clafoutis bake evenly, move a rack into the center position.
Butter pan. Generously butter a 9-inch quiche pan. If you don’t have a quiche pan, a deep pie plate will do, too. Note that we didn’t say “generously margarine,” so butter it is.
Place berries. Place the berries in a single layer on the bottom of the pan. We tried to distribute them evenly, so we had a few berries left that we thought we might eat. When we added the custard, the berries moved around and we found that we had to add the rest. Ah, the sacrifices we make.
Whisk eggs. Crack the eggs into a heavy medium-size bowl. It’s nice to use a heavy bowl when whisking because it won’t move around as much. Now start whisking, and keep on whisking until the eggs are light and frothy, about a minute.
Add sugar. Pour in the sugar and resume whisking. Feel free to take a break while you whisk. We do. Keep whisking until the sugar dissolves, about another minute.
Add salt and vanilla. Toss in the pinch of salt and add the vanilla extract. Whisk it in; that shouldn’t take but a few seconds.
Add flour. Pour the flour into the egg and sugar mixture and whisk away. Feel free to whisk with abandon, as you’re trying to develop some gluten and avoid flour lumps. While you’re at it, give it another minute of whisking.
Add cream and milk. We added the cream first, then the milk, but we don’t think the order matters. While whisking slowly, pour in the cream and milk and whisk until you have a batter that resembles a smooth pancake batter.
Pour over berries. Pour the batter over the berries, and fill in those gaps that form when the berries float away by either pushing them back — be pushy — or add more — be polite.
Bake. Slide into the oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until puffed and browned and a sharp knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool. This is always the hardest part: place the clafoutis on a cooling rack and let cool completely. It will collapse,but don’t feel bad, that’s what it does. It can’t help it. While you’re waiting, find out how to pronounce clafoutis, and, perhaps, what’s the plural? Let us know, would you?
Serve. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
As promised, this is as easy as pancake batter, but much tastier, non? Like many European desserts, this is not overly sweet, and, in fact, it’s even a bit on the savory side. To us, that’s a good thing, as too many desserts tend to go overboard on the sugar. We think that’s because many people don’t feel as if they’ve had a dessert until the sugar rush hits. Of course, that’s followed by the crash. But, with this dessert, you won’t have that; instead, you’ll have a creamy, rich dessert with bites of sweet and bites of slightly sour from the differing ripeness of the raspberries. Imagine! A raspberry dessert in which you can taste the raspberries. Definitely five stars, and not just because raspberry is the only word in English with the letter combination “spb.”