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. Heather @ chiknpastry says

    Hi Margaret! What a lovely idea!! Glad I found it on mattbites. I recently posted a recipe for a nectarine pie w/ creme fraiche ice cream and it was fab!

    See you next week!

  2. says

    Help me Lord! I’m going to have to take the rest of the week off to try all these delicious recipes! Do you think my boss would mind if I brought in all the leftovers for her?

    No time to bake until this coming weekend, but I know it’s going to be peaches.

    Thanks for all the wonderful ideas!

  3. says

    Welcome to Gavan, Phoo-D and Jessamyn. Wow! So exciting to see this kind of response, thank you all.

    @Jessamyn, you and I are ont he same breakfast wavelength…as I said, I think Huffy Puffy (basically same thing without fruit) is great holiday breakfast, so totally agree on clafoutis. Love your post.

    @Gavan: Ha! You had to break out the pluots, didn’t you (and the tea, too). Actually, I am a tea-only drinker, so I am right there with you. Thank you for great stuff, and your visit.

    @Phoo-D: I think the name “sour cherries” gives these fruits a very bad rap, when they are a real gem. Thank you.

  4. says

    I want to play! Actually first, very excited to find this blog. I am pretending to be a gardener this year and can see your advice coming in very handy. Hopefully next year my garden will be better.

    For my entry into SummerFest I recounted the PeachFest celebration my mother and I conducted with a day long canning extravaganza. You can read about it and see the results here: http://robbingpeter.wordpress.com/2009/08/04/summerfest-peachfest/

    Can’t wait for next month.

  5. says

    OK, I’m fudging a bit on the tree fruit theme, but it’s the height of blueberry season in Michigan and I make a blueberry tart with lime curd and a gingersnap crust:
    http://www.rustickitchen.com/blog/?p=202

    And Margaret, thanks for the woodchuck advice. But Jeff, Jennifer and Jagger seem to have moved on their own, or more likely they’ve built another entrance that I can’t find. Fingers crossed.

  6. White On Rice Couple says

    Thank you for introducing us to the endless possibilities of of clafoutis! You’ve just opened up a whole new world of desserts to us, especially with using summer’s bounty of fruits.
    You’re such an inspiration in both the garden and kitchen. Merci and thank you!

  7. says

    Welcome, RobbingPeter. Yes, canning of peaches is far preferable to freezing (they just don’t hold up so well in the freezer, sadly, by comparison). They also dry well, by the way, and make good “fruit leather.” Thanks for the reminder, and hope to see you soon again.

    @Janine: Just remember what “The Terminator” said: “I’ll be back!” :)

    @White On Rice Couple: And thank you as well. We’re only halfway through the Fest, but I think alredy that it has been a smashing success. I have so many new recipe ideas I have lost count.

  8. says

    Hi Margaret,

    What a great idea!

    I don’t have a recipe for Peaches yet because mine are still on the tree. Here in the UK we’re a bit behind on the ripening. But I thought I’d add a link to a photo of my Peach tree which is trained into a fan shape on my south-facing wall. I’ve got no idea what the Peaches will taste like but my mouth’s watering at all the recipes here. http://www.mytinyplot.co.uk/fruit/ripening-peaches/

    • says

      Welcome, My Tiny Plot. I have an Asian pear espaliered on my south-facing side of the house, too, and it really is happy there. Thanks for a close look at this easy training method, the fan. Brilliant. See you again, soon, I hope.

  9. says

    I like this summer fest. I made a blueberry buckle yesterday that could easily have been a peach buckle or blackberry buckle or….

  10. Elizabeth says

    Like April I have been busy making blueberry buckle, my favorite summer goodie. This year I went back to Martha Stewart’s recipe — after a few years using one from Cooks Illustrated. To me, Martha’s is best. I have no blog to post it so the best I can do is tell you it was in the July/August 2000 issue.

    As for clafoutis, for years I have been wanting to make one and saving recipes and then just forgetting about them when peaches are ripe. This year I know I will finally get around to making one, thanks to Margaret and Martha.

    Also, I just want to add that clafoutis aren’t only for fruit. The first clafoutis I ever ate was a Brownie Clafoutis and it was one of the best things I ever ate. It was a featured dessert at a long gone favorite restaurant, Farm Country Food, down the road from Margret’s place, in Millerton. After it closed the baker worked for a while in Ancramdale, but left there years ago. I have no idea where she is now, but I will never forget her Brownie Clafoutis. Maybe I will make one the next time I have some brownies in the freezer. Yum!

  11. says

    I always add almonds in my clafoutis batter: almond meal when I’m too lazy or (the best!) almonds (or sometimes pistachios too) grounded 1st with the sugar. It adds texture and besides, almonds are good with almost any fruits: cherries, rhubarb, apricots, peaches…

    I happened to buy lots of apricots lately: there’re very good fresh but I like to put them in desserts too like that one:
    http://sandrakavital.blogspot.com/2009/08/poelee-dabricots-en-gratin-de-sabayon.html

  12. says

    My mini apple orchard is just 4 years old and already its story rivals the best children’s fairy tale. Originally, I told my cousin who owns Sunshine Gardens that I wanted to buy nine “Anna” apple trees for a spot I designed to be a tiny orchard. I wanted “Anna” apples because I have grown them successfully before and love the fruit. My cousin (who should have been a used car salesman) said he would give me a good deal (read “Free”) if I took some apple trees off his hands that he could not sell. These particular trees were originally a special order for a woman who reneged and, in me; he saw the golden (Dorsett) opportunity to unload what he could not sell to the public. Ah, the joys of family. The caveat was they were not all “Annas” and several trees were no longer marked. It was a “take them all or nothing” deal. Although they were not all the same variety or the variety I had initially wanted, “free” is hard to pass up, so I took them, & the orchard was planted. …

    (you can read the rest of this TRUE fairy tale on my blog -photos & recipes to come tomorrow and through- out fruit week of summer fest!)

    http://edgehillherbfarmer.spaces.live.com/

  13. says

    Love love love clafoutis – especially for breakfast! Love the peach version.. although we do have a glut of cherries here to deal with!

    I have more stone fruit plans this week, but can’t let this one go by without mentioning Peach Pie with Roasted Peach Ice Cream – http://tinyurl.com/l4umn9 (That was last summer – this summer I tried Roasted Plum Ice Cream!)

    And one of my favourite recipes of all time is brilliant made with any number of stone fruits – Plum Browned Butter Bliss – http://tinyurl.com/l8b9ry – is fruit topped with a crusty, golden cakey topping that’s better than cobbler, easier than pie!

    Also love Martha’s Peach and Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake! http://tinyurl.com/nq3xj6

  14. says

    I love a good clafoutis, whether it contains cherries or stone fruits and your version looks wonderful! Reminds me that I haven’t made one in a long time and since we are having guests this weekend…….

    One of my favorite desserts that is too easy to call a recipe is my Apricot Tart at http://tinyurl.com/l82uun

    Another summer favorite using peaches is my Almond Stuffed Peach recipe at http://tinyurl.com/lxk9jd

    You just HAVE to love summer fruit!

    Deborah

    • Margaret says

      Welcome, Deborah. Glad to provoke a clafoutis anytime. :) Off now to see your tart and (what?) stuffed peaches. Thank you for sharing both.

      Welcome also to Julie…and to roasted peach ice cream! It truly is amazing how many variations there are here already, and that’s another new one for me. See you both soon.

  15. Lee (a.k.a. Riveted) says

    Yum-to-the-yum-yum! Clafoutis Battter…who knew! This recipe seems like an incredibly easy one to alter too (for things like Gluten Free baking, which you referenced). I went blueberry picking a few days ago and am wondering how they would fair, substituted for the peaches. If you’d like to see the amazing 5 lbs. of blues I picked in under 2 hours, just check out my most recent blog entry. Thanks much for sharing such a delectable (and wonderfully simple) summer dessert!

    • says

      Welcome, Suzanne. Gather up your skirts, ha! Love the image you conjure of being out in the garden with a full skirt or big apron, harvesting fruit. Thanks for your Red, White and Blue Trifle recipe, and hope to see you soon again.

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