And of course, because I am a nerd, now I am now singing "Clafoutis" to myself, to the tune of "Shipoopi." That will NEVER get out of my head. Ugh, Meredith Wilson.
Shockingly I am the only one in my house who likes warm fruit--who doesn't like pie, I ask you? WHO? Everyone living in my house, except me. Of course, pie and fruit desserts are my favorite. Because of course.
Cherries can sometimes bridge the divide, but still since JBB was away on a trip the day I picked up the CSA share and the box of cherries, I figured why not make something I like. And something that is easy. Because I am lazy.
And so clafoutis! Which is essential an eggy pancake batter poured over fruit in a cake pan or pie tin, and baked in the oven. It puffs up, browns lightly and is fantastic hot or cold. Traditionally, it's made with cherries, with the pits in, which lends a bit of an almond flavor. But you can use almost any kind of fruit--berries are great, but so are plums and peaches. And the method is dead easy: arrange fruit in a pie dish, mix together wet ingredients, dump in flour, and pour over fruit. Bake and DONE.
I turn to the clafoutis pretty often in the season, because you can easily adjust the size you make to the amount of fruit you have, and because it works so beautfully with so many types of fruit. Today it was cherries, and though I do love a traditional French clafoutis and don't mind eating around pits myself, I have kids, and kids do things like choke on pits, I went with pitted cherries and turned my counter in a cherry murder scene.
While technically the cherry pitter is a unitasker (I mean, it also pits olives! But it still just pits things), it's also way easier than all the non-unitasker methods of pitting cherries (poking them out with a chopstick or skewer, using a loop of a paper clip) and way quicker.
It does leave a bit of a mess though, so do it over a bowl or something.
The batter for clafoutis is essentially a crepe batter, and it really does come together in less than five minutes. That's 3 eggs, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 1/2 cup of sugar in that batter bowl (isn't it great? I love batter bowls with the handle and pouring spout. This one I picked up at a pottery place on Cape Cod), and 1 cup of milk in the measuring cup. Once again, I am lazy, and so I melted the butter in the cup first, poured it into the bowl and then reused the cup for the milk.
Even though almond flavor can be traditional for the clafoutis, I went with vanilla because I like it better. That's my bottle of homemade vanilla that's been in use since 2008 (refilled countless times from the giant jar of homemade vanilla that's stashed in the pantry--remind me and I'll write about that sometime)
Whisk up the wet ingredients (and yes, the sugar counts as wet), dump in the flour and whisk again. This is pretty much exactly the way I make crepes, the only difference is the amount of flour. Tweak the proportions to be a bit more flour heavy, add a leavener and you get a pancake. Tweak a bit looser and you have a full on crepe batter. And it's easy to adjust the levels of batter to suit your fruit--just adjust the proportions based on how many eggs to use.
Then pour the batter over the fruit. Note something missing in the pic above? That's right, I forgot to butter the damn dish, before assembling. Because OF COURSE I DID. This basically means that you get no beauty shot of the perfect slice of clafoutis at the end of the day because the damn thing won't come out pretty. It tastes great, but doesn't slice well.
So lesson here? DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO. Butter the damn dish before doing anything else.
But doesn't it look pretty now, before it's fused to the damn pan? It does! And look, I even thought to put it on a sheet pan to make it a hell of a lot easier to get in and out of the oven (and in case of spills or overflow).
35-40 minutes later? Voila! You are done! Let it cool a bit, serve warm (perhaps, pried out of the pan if you also forgot to butter the damn pan), or cold.
And here's the recipe, tweaked and adapted from several clafoutis recipes.
- 1 lb fruit, sliced and/or pitted (Cherries are traditional, stone fruit works great too)
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325 deg. BUTTER A PIE OR CAKE DISH. Arrange fruit in single layer in dish and set aside on a sheet pan.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, melted butter, and milk until thoroughly combined. Add in the flour and whisk--you're going for zero lumps. The butter may make a few little ones, but you're really looking out for flour lumps.
Pour batter over fruit, and carefully place in oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until center is set and top is pale gold. Let cool in the pan, dust with powdered sugar. Slice and serve warm or cold with lightly whipped cream, ice cream, more fruit, or just a fork.