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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 around now.

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 the clafoutis is sweeter and has 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” (affiliate link), 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 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:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

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 350F 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 website. 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.

  1. Mélanie says:

    That’s funny, I’ve also made a clafoutis for this week entry (hey, I am French, it’s what we do… ;-)
    It’s not exactly the same recipe, I replaced flour by almond flour, to give it a lighter texture as well as a distinctive taste against the cherries and peaches. And just before the end of the baking time, I sprinkled some sugar on top, so that it caramelized… Very good! I hope you will like it too… http://melaskitchen.blogspot.com/2009/08/summer-fest-part-2-with-clafoutis.html

  2. ayo says:

    Substitute 1/2 cup ground blanched almonds for the flour. This is the “Classical French” version used with sour cherries—also great with huckleberries, blueberries, mixed berries and cherries, etc. It is irresistable and so very easy to accomplish. No matter how much one loves to cook (and I do!) who wants to be in the kitchen rolling out pie dough when the cherries and berries are fruiting? I want to be outside in the garden.

  3. Liz says:

    This looks absolutely divine! I was looking around for clafoutis recipes and after reading yours, I know that I’ve found a keeper! I will be trying this very shortly! Thank you for a great recipe and post!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Liz. Glad to help. Such as easy dessert, and so delicious — people are always impressed, but it takes no time. Enjoy!

  4. Jaime (Sophistimom) says:

    This looks so gorgeous, Margaret. I love how this clafoutis batter will work for anything.
    Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.

  5. Loris says:

    Saw you with Martha. Good luck with your book launch. Enjoyed your webpage. The frog boys are charming. I have a grey tree frog that I found hopping around in my house. He apparently came in with planters I moved into the sunroom. I couldn’t put him out because it had already dropped below freezing so he is hibernating in my shower (coolest place in my house). I made him a frog habitat with mulch, leaves, pond etc in an aquarium. He snacks on crickets that I get at the pet store. I am guessing he is the same frog that lived on the porch all summer, catching insects by the windows at night and sleeping on a brick by day. Frogs are fun to observe but I hate to think of them eating birds.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Loris. That is HILARIOUS. What a gentle soul you are – sounds like something I would do. The tree frogs are amazing, aren’t they? Yes, the bullfrogs are quite voracious; ugh. But all of life’s a food chain, so I just try to take it in stride and not interfere. See you soon!

  6. Terri says:

    I just tried this recipe with some frozen mixed berries I needed to use up. I thawed them and drained them in a sieve first. Worked great! Thanks!! (I think… ate almost half of it in one sitting, LOL!)

  7. Judi says:

    Oh a new dessert to add to the mix, Sounds so good. I will hit the farmers market and see what they have fresh. I am going to the orchard to see if peaches are available to can and a few might not make it to the canning jars.

  8. Bonita says:

    Glad for the “solvent” for all fruits. This year with late freeze that killed all fruit tree blossoms and drought that parched the berries, we have only the humble ground cherry, but I made ground cherry crisp that got rave reviews, next I’ll try g c clafoutis. Thanks.

  9. Susan says:

    Thank you for the peach clafoutis recipe. Made it today with frozen peaches from last year (making room for this year’s peaches ). It was DELICIOUS and easy. Thanks again!

  10. Melanie says:

    How could I not have vanilla in my kitchen? When did I run out? But when I was making this a few nights ago with nectarines instead of peaches (tastier I think), I realized I was out of vanilla – so I added almond extract instead. It was delicious. Right now I’m making another with fresh pitted cherries. Can’t wait. Thanks for the recipe Margaret. Happy gardening.

  11. Joan weed says:

    Here’s a simple but delicious summer favorite–not a sweet but uses the summer harvest in a delicious way. The recipe by the way, comes from and old copy of The American heritage Cookbook. The dish is called “Colache”
    Melt some butter with a spot or two of oil in a saute’ pan. Add chopped onions, and sliced summer squash(yellow or green) and cook till softened. Add a cup or so of fresh corn cut off the cob and fresh tomatoes cut into eighths. Cover and cook till all are heated through. A delicious vegetable side or a main dish if you like. I didn’t give measures but it doesn’t matter. Depends on how many you are feeding. Such a colorful dish too.

  12. Joan weed says:

    OOps should have mentioned seasonings–Salt and pepper of course but fresh herbs of your choice could be added.

  13. M Konnerth says:

    Margaret- I love your blog ! Glad you posted the Clafoutis! Great to be reminded of the classics!
    We’re headed for a heat wave, here on L. I., so for now , I’ll be halving my peaches and giving them a quick shot of oil. Then I’ll just plop them on the grill after I’ve pulled dinner off. I’ll let them cook for 5-10 minutes, turn off the heat and let them hang out in there a bit longer. I check/pierce for tenderness. When I’m ready, I’ll pull them out of the grill, put two halves in a pretty bowl and top them with Greek yogurt that I’ve mixed with a little vanilla and then drizzle with local honey and crushed amaretto. YUM!

  14. Suki says:

    I have been making Clafoutis for years with mixed success – some great, some really good. I used your recipe last night with peaches (only changes were 1/2 skim, 1/2 heavy cream, sprinkled a little light brown sugar over the peaches, and used a Vitamix.) It was by far the best Clafouti I ever had in my life. Thanks so much for this great recipe — I’ll never use another.

  15. chris says:

    Just made this. Had to sample before it cooled. Absolutely delicious. Might sprinkle brown sugar on top when I make the next one.
    Can’t wait to try this with other fruits.

    1. margaret says:

      This is my favorite fancy-but-so-simple dessert. People love it. My sister has adopted it as her go-to, as well. It is meant to be good with dried fruits, too, so I may experiment this fall with some new ideas.

  16. cj says:

    i have made your recipe before and it was heavenly. want to try it with last summer’s frozen peaches. should i defrost the peaches before adding them or just use them in their frozen state? (or would partially frozen work best?)

    1. margaret says:

      “Experts” are 50-50 on this when it comes to fruit pies, for instance — some prefer to put fruit in frozen (some add extra thickener to make up for the juices that will be released) and some defrost overnight in the fridge, then drain off some juices before adding to pie crust. Since the clafoutis batter is full of flour, aka a thickener, I think I’d just trust that it could make up for the juice and put them in frozen — but again, I bet either way will work (though baking time will be different I suspect).

  17. Diana Cooper says:

    I notice that the picture of the clafoutis shows peaches on the top, yet your recipe only mentions adding them to the center. Which is it? Thanks.

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Diana. The custardy portion (the batter) has a mind of its own, so what will be showing when it’s baked is up to the whims of the batter. :) Some come out closed like a two-crust pie, some have all the fruit showing!

  18. Jems says:

    Will this travel well for a picnic potluck I’m going to soon?
    And is it good as is without serving whipped cream?

    Thanks!

  19. Tiffany says:

    Just made my first amazing clafoutis and I’m hooked. Question- my husband is working out of town and won’t be home for two days. I’d love to save half of this for him (if I can bring myself to do it). Since this is somewhere between a cake and a custard, would you store it in the fridge or in a cake keeper on the counter? Also, can these be made in advance and frozen?
    Thanks for any help!

    1. margaret says:

      Fridge for sure — all that egg and dairy will spoil. It won’t be as nice by the way as leftovers, texture-wise.

  20. Sabine Winter says:

    Just made this clafoutis for the third time with fresh Apricots. Excellent. Husband loves this batter so it’s a keeper.
    Thank you for sharing
    Sabine

  21. Flippersmama says:

    I happened upon this site while on a search for recipes for ripe peaches. This calls for AP flour. How does the batter rise without leavening?
    Nevertheless, you’re a charming writer, and I have saved your recipe.

    1. margaret says:

      Glad you found the recipe. It’s not cake-y, exactly — clafoutis is slightly different, with the milk/cream and those 3 eggs it’s just a little custard-y and less cake-y.

  22. C. Mayell says:

    Love the look of your clafoutis, but as it does not store well, could the batter be made up & only cook portions for 1 or two servings at a time in small ramekin dishes?
    This would be helpful as I am on my own I don’t like to think I may miss out on a favourite of mine. Also how long would this take to cook?

  23. Joetta Fort says:

    It looks like the peaches are not peeled, correct? The reason I ask is I’m allergic to peach peelings (not deathly, just uncomfortable) but I’d like to try it with the peels on to see if cooking them erases their negative impact on me.

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