What is a Clafouti?
Clafouti, also known as clafoutis, is a classic French dessert which resembles a fruit filled custard or sweet frittata. While native to the Limousin region of France, clafouti is made in many other locations as well, and it is a popular dessert food. Since clafouti is very easy to make and it has an elegant presentation, it is an excellent choice of quickie dessert for dinner parties. Since it is served warm as a general rule, clafouti is best made at home or purchased as part of a restaurant meal.
The traditional clafouti is made with cherries, although any sort of fruit could be used. Some purists call non-cherry clafouti flognarde, to distinguish it. The fruit is layered with a dense batter and baked until the batter puffs up, just like a quiche. The dessert is allowed to cool slightly before being served with whipped cream, ice cream, crème anglaise, or a similar topping. Some cooks serve it directly out of the baking pan, while others prefer to make clafouti in individual ramekins.
To make a traditional clafouti, start with three cups of cherries. Some cooks leave the pits in, since the pits make the flavor more rich and intense, but they also make eating clafouti slightly hazardous. If cherries are not available or some other fruit simply looks better, feel free to substitute. Apples, peaches, blueberries, and fruit mixes are all excellent in this dish, especially if cooks tweak the spicing to bring out the unique flavors of the fruit.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius). Beat three eggs with one and one quarter cups milk, adding one half cup flour, one third cup sugar, one tablespoon of vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Lemon juice, orange essence, and spices such as nutmeg or cinnamon may also be used. For people with gluten intolerance, another thickening flour such as arrowroot, amaranth, nut meal, or sorghum can be substituted. Pour approximately one quarter of the batter into an oiled baking pan, and bake it until it develops a thin skin.
Pull the baking pan out and distribute the fruit into it before pouring the rest of the batter on top and sprinkling with granulated sugar to form a crisp, crackly crust. To reduce the probability of cracking, bake the clafouti in a water bath, which will also help it cook evenly. Place the assembled clafouti into the preheated oven, and bake for 40 minutes or until puffy and brown. Remove, allow to cool slightly, and serve.
For something that tastes like an odd mix between a pancake and a custard, clafouti is pretty easy on the waistline as far as desserts go. I was looking for things that I could make that tasted good, yet didn't pack on the pounds and was surprised to discover that clafouti was one guilty pleasure I could actually have.
For a traditional cherry clafouti you're only looking at about 150 calories for a 130 gram serving, which is much better than eating that chocolate bar you may have been eyeing. Plus, with all the fruit in it you actually get some vitamins. Clafouti also has surprisingly little fat in it, so you can enjoy it without worrying too much.
I've never had traditional clafouti made with cherries before but my friends and I have played around with a recipe that called for raspberries instead. Clafouti is actually surprisingly easy to make and has a really light taste that is good if you are looking for a dessert that is easy on the stomach.
One thing I would recommend though is that you use whole milk when making you clafouti. My wife always purchases skim or 1% milk and it just doesn't do the clafouti justice. I think if you are going to enjoy a nice French dessert than you should at least make sure all of your ingredients are up to par.
@burcinc-- The same happened to me before. It's not uncommon! I put three eggs in my clafouti as well. I wouldn't play around with the egg-flour ratios but I do add more vanilla extract than the recipe calls for. So if it calls for one and a half teaspoon vanilla extract, I put two teaspoons. You can also add a little bit of almond extract or orange or lemon zest if you want in addition to the vanilla extract. This should get rid of the eggy taste.
I haven't made apple or pear clafouti before. I've made raspberry and blueberry clafouti and those turned out really good. I think apple and pear clafouti will be just fine if the apples or pears are sweet and maybe if you add some cinnamon to it.
I made clafouti for the first time! It's good, but I think it could be better. There is a mild egg taste for some reason, even though I did everything according to the recipe. I put three eggs but the milk, flour and vanilla extract should have covered the egg flavor right? Any ideas on how I can avoid that next time? Should I put less eggs?
I made the traditional cherry clafouti but I think it would be good with apples or pears too. Has anyone made apple or pear clafouti before? Was it good?
I learned how to make clafouti when I was in France as a student. There was a little pastry and dessert shop near my apartment and I would walk by there everyday going to and returning from classes. The aroma of clafouti which I think is a combination of pastry, pie and jam aromas would reach the other end of the street. When it became too costly to have a slice of clafouti there everyday, I learned the recipe and started making my own.
Now I make it with my kids. It's very easy to make so it's nice to have the kids take part and pitch in. It's always fun to watch it rise up in the oven. It starts so little and becomes huge as it cooks.
I'd love to make it more often but I generally do in the summer because I can get cherries from the farmer's market then. It just doesn't taste the same with store-bought cherries.
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