clafoutis batter, universal solvent of fruit dessert

peach clafoutisI DON’T BAKE MUCH THESE DAYS, BUT IN ANOTHER LIFE I was the Queen of Pie (and even baked all my bread, too). Even though I rarely cut or rub cold butter into flour for a crust any longer, I’ve found a shortcut to homemade fruit dessert that’s served me faithfully since I hung up my rolling pin. No surprise that I attribute the find to my old friend Martha Stewart, who taught me many things—including clafoutis, a simple, custardy backdrop to the peaches that are looking good.

I love clafoutis (kla-foo-tee), a humble French concoction that’s like a Huffy-Puffy or Dutch Baby or German pancake (whatever you call it, that’s my favorite Christmas-morning food), but sweeter and with fruit inside. If you have 3 cups of fruit and some kitchen basics like milk and eggs and flour, you can make this dessert very last-minute, even just as you sit down to eat the main course, another selling factor. Easy, yet quite impressive.

Though clafoutis is traditionally made with cherries, as it was in the recipe Martha shared in her must-have 1995 cookbook, “The Martha Stewart Cookbook: Collected Recipes for Every Day,” I’ve come to regard her batter as the universal solvent for all things fruit.

With it, I have since made clafoutis from peaches, plums, pears, various berries, cherries, and mixes of fresh fruit and dried (such as by adding a handful of dried cranberries or cherries to pears or peaches; raisins and pears might even be good). Get out your blender to make the solvent:

Martha’s Clafoutis Batter, my adaptation

ingredients

  • ½ cup sugar (reserve 1 Tbsp. to dust baking dish)
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

steps:

In a blender, combine the ingredients, and blend on high for 1 minute, scraping the sides once midway.

Into a 9-inch glass pie dish or a fluted porcelain tart dish that has been buttered first and dusted with the reserved 1 Tablespoon of sugar, pour half the batter.

Arrange 3 cups of sliced fruit of your choice in the partly filled pan. Pour on the remaining batter and bake at 350 until the top puffs and starts to turn golden-brown, about 45-60 minutes.

Note: Everyone’s clafoutis custard is a little different (just as is everyone’s pancake batter or pie crust, though the basics are the same). Martha even has more than one on her site. For example, Mark Bittman recommends ½ cup sugar, 3 eggs, 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, ¾ cup heavy cream OR plain yogurt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt). You may like more fruit or more custard on balance. Experiment, and enjoy.

 

75 comments
August 4, 2009

comments

  1. says

    Hello! That looks delicious! I wish we had better peaches in the UK but they’re always somewhat of a disappointment. Maybe making a calfoutis will help the flavour?
    One thing we have lots of is plums – that’s what I’ve chosen for this week’s Summer Fest! http://www.rosylipsandlavender.com/2009/08/summer-fest-spiced-red-plum-ginger-and.html. I’m new to this and was disappointed to miss out on herb week last week but already thinking about what I can do with beans for next week, especially as they’re the only plant we seem to be able to grow! Rosy x

    • says

      Welcome, Rosy. I had a visit to your blog and the plum chutney/jam looks wonderful…what a mix of flavors! Glad you joined us, and come again for gardening or more food anytime.

  2. says

    What a fantastic idea! We already make German Oven Pancakes, but this is fantastic! They boys will love this (esp if I add some whipped cream to the top!)

  3. Charmian Christie says

    This looks delicious. I’ve never heard of clafoutis before but much prefer peaches to cherries. Good call!

  4. Margaret says

    Welcome to you all, and especially to first-time commenters Danielle and Kelsey and Marjorie.

    @Danielle: Cheating (which we should just call being smart and sensible) is always allowed.

    @Kelsey: I love almond flavor with fruit, so this sounds wonderful.

    @Marjorie: Two delicious-sounding apricot recipes that make me want to do some jam.

    See you both soon again, I hope, and thanks.

  5. says

    I’ve been obsessing about clafoutis lately, it being cherry season and all. I’ve been comparing recipe upon recipe, not wanting to waste the ephemeral cherries on a subpar one. But Martha I know would not steer me wrong, especially when it comes to baking (her pate brise is my go-to crust). So thank you, thank you, thank you for getting me up off of the bench!

  6. says

    I love your take on the traditional clafloutis, and the recipe looks so easy to whip up. Thanks for sharing.

    I lost my AC over the weekend so I’m behind on my Summer Fest entry but here’s a stone fruit post on cherries I did earlier this summer:

    http://penandfork.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/now-and-later-cherries

    Margaret, do you know @kalynskitchen? She’s looking for types of radishes to grow. Says her’s always turn out woody. Thought you might be able to help her.

  7. says

    Welcome, Laura. Yes, this recipe just always works so why mess with it. The original version includes a little Cognac, I believe, on the cherries…but I just don’t bother. Glad to help (thanks to Martha). :)

    @Gwen: Great tip on how to keep the flour from “wheezing” as you say on your blog) our of the Cuisinart. Thanks. I will go find @kalynskitchen on Twitter and see what’s up.

  8. says

    Margaret, what’s all this about not being a baker, or a food photographer? Doing a pretty fine imitation of both, if you ask me. The clafouti looks luscious, and that “slanty sunlight,” as you call it, really makes it shine. Josie’s in love with that picture and will now snub the pandowdy, and demand Clafouti. What have you done?

    Thanks for hosting Summer Fest, and bringing so many good cooks together. xo.

  9. says

    Welcome, Jen H. Your entry sound so interesting, and not a combination I would ever have thought of (like most of the best recipes). Thank you.

    @Marilyn: I am a troublemaker. Born that way, and too old to stop now. :) Tell Josie I have 7/8 of one in the fridge I can share.

  10. Balsamfir says

    I love Clafoutis. My recipe book substitutes almond flour instead of regular flour, which isn’t always on hand, so I’ll try your way. I did one with blueberries and cherries a few weeks ago. Cognac would have improved it, certainly. And how long did it take you to find peaches that perfect?

  11. says

    Yes! I love clafoutis too and have been known to eat it for breakfast.
    If you feel like doing more baking, try the roasted apricot tarts I posted about on my blog. The dough has only 3 ingredients, so they are ridiculously easy to put together, and you can sub any stone fruit. It’s paired with ginger ice cream, and makes an impressive dessert. Here it is:
    http://www.pastrypal.com/2009/07/25/apricots-tamed/

    Thanks for the Summer Fest. A great idea.

  12. says

    Another lover of ze clafloutis, here. Lovely, luscious photo and tempting recipe. mmm.

    I think you are the temptress of twitter with your food tweets, now I see it is presenting upon your garden tables as well. Working upon my subconscious, subverting ascetic wellmeaning dieter in me.

    I fling away inhibition in the last of summer and believe I shall try this invitation to experiment .

  13. says

    Since peaches are cheap and ripe as well as my favorite tree fruit, I was just browsing the cookbooks for a clafloutis recipe to try last night! I’m inspired to join your summerfest. It must be too late for fruit tree recipes but I’ll hope to join in the beans and green next week.

  14. Bobster says

    Margaret, perfect timing! I haven’t made a clafouti in ages. I know what we’re having for dessert tonight!! Off to the farmers market to see what looks good! Need to find some ginger ice cream while I’m at it…

  15. says

    I have been obsessing over peach pie, finally I made one 2 nights ago with no patience. Not very good for pie rust
    (patience is a must). It came out okay, but I am use to my own great crust. I did eat all of the insides and trashed the crust. Margaret you have solved another one of my problems. Since I seem to be running around with my head cut off most days, I had forgotten about the Clafoutis. Thank you, I will try your recipe on the peaches I just got and let you know.

  16. says

    Welcome, Irina, and also to Veggiebelly.

    Irina, how did you know what I had for breakfast? :) Heaven help me, alone here w/a custardy clafoutis.

    Veggiebelly, thank you for the pitting tip (which I needed yesterday!) and the easy tart.

    Hope to see you both soon again.

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