This classic French fruit-based recipe is as good for breakfast as it is for dessert.
For Christmas last year I received a set of Le Creuset stoneware mini cocottes. They are the most beautiful color of blue and match my kitchen and dining room perfectly. I’ve used them for individual baked macaroni and cheese, pot pie, potato au gratin and most recently cherry clafoutis.
Clafoutis is a classic fruity French patisserie somewhere between a cake and a flan. It fluffs up like a moist cake then settles as it cools, transforming into a custardy, creamy consistency like a flan. I have chosen to share the cherry version with you; however, you can use other stone fruits like apricots, peaches, plums or apples — or even use a couple fruits for a more complex flavor and texture.
Cherry season in North Carolina is typically June thorough July, but the warmth and tartness of the taste when cooked lends to the cooler months in my mind. Cherries are available in serval forms throughout the year at most grocery stores; therefore, they are in season constantly. But there are certain types of fresh local cherries that you can only find during peak season.
For this recipe I choose to pit the cherries. I don’t own a cherry pitter, so I used a chopstick. You can also use a metal straw or a thick plastic straw and simply just push the pit out of each cherry.
If you feel like being authentic, then don’t pit the cherries. The traditional French way of making cherry clafoutis leaves the cherries whole. It keeps the cherries from leaking their juices into the pastry, and the pits are said to add a hint of almond flavor. To me it is just irritating to spit them out while trying to enjoy the dish so I incorporate almond extract instead. You do whatever you feel, but be sure to warn your guests if you leave the pits in!
While clafoutis is usually and traditionally served as a dessert, I found that it is also wonderful for breakfast. When I prepared this dish for my family of three it was chilly outside and we had the fireplace roaring. There were three left over, which we stored in the refrigerator overnight and enjoyed the next morning for breakfast. Paired with dark roast coffee, it was a magical start to the day.
Feel free to use whipped cream or vanilla ice cream instead of powdered sugar. You really can’t go wrong!