Cherry Clafoutis, well known throughout France, combines sweet, juicy, fresh cherries baked in a sweet set custard until golden. Made with simple ingredients in less than ten minutes, this rustic dessert is all kinds of delicious!
Having a French Mum, this quintessentially French dessert was a staple treat in our home growing up. The most traditional way of making it is with fresh cherries, as I've made it today, and the combination of fresh cherries and custard-like baked batter makes it super tasty.
I already have a Peach Clafoutis on my website, which uses seasonal, fresh, juicy peaches- perfect for warmer months. All year-round French favourites, alongside clafoutis, are Strawberry Sablé Breton Tart and Profiteroles. So many incredible choices!
Today, I'm sharing with you the simple steps to make this clafoutis along with images and tips that I've picked up in the years of making this treat. Let's dive right in!
❓ What is Clafoutis?
Clafoutis is a traditional French dessert from the Limousin region. It's a simple, rustic, family-style cake passed down from generation to generation and loved by all. But how do you pronounce It? Simply put, you pronounce it 'cla-foo-tea'. Not so hard, right?!
It's made from a custard base of eggs, milk, flour and sugar, like a crêpes batter, but when baked it turns into something quite unique. The best way I can describe it would be part flan and part dutch baby. The texture of the batter is smooth and silky and sets around the juicy fruit that soften whilst baking. The result is a sweet, more-ish dessert that's become part of everyday baking in French households.
There's a bit of debate surrounding Cherry Clafoutis, in particular. The classic version is made with black cherries, with the stones still in it. Some believe the pits add additional almond-like flavour to the batter. I prefer to de-stone the cherries as it makes them more enjoyable to eat - so I guess it's up to personal preference!
🌟 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- This recipe uses basic ingredients. It uses everyday ingredients that you'll have in your pantry and fridge. You can use fresh, frozen, or canned cherries or substitute them for other fruit if you don't have them on hand.
- Family-friendly. This low-budget recipe requires only a few simple ingredients and is perfect for the whole family to enjoy.
- Simple to make. No fancy tricks or equipment are needed to make the batter or bake.
🧾 Ingredients Needed
Whilst the ingredient list is short- I've made notes on a few, along with substitutions that you can use. It's worth a quick read!
- Cherries - When using fresh cherries, it's up to you whether you de-stem them and remove the pits. A simple cherry de-stoner will make light work of it. If fresh cherries aren't in season, you can use canned and even frozen cherries. If using canned cherries, drain them well before adding them to the dish. If using frozen cherries, let them defrost before adding them to the dish.
- Sugar - It adds sweetness to the dish. You can substitute with light brown sugar also.
- Milk - Use whole-fat milk. The custard needs the rich fat content in the milk for flavour and to help provide the structure in the baked cake. You can sub half the milk for double (heavy cream) if you prefer a richer taste.
- Add almond flavour: Substitute half the flour for almond flour, add ½ teaspoon almond extract into batter and once baked, top with toasted flaked almonds.
- Add some crunch: Sprinkle coarse sugar over the top ten minutes before the clafoutis finishes baking.
- Use different fruit: So many options!! Blackberries, raspberries, sliced plums, apples, pears... where to start?!
- Add a dash of rum: The alcohol will cook out during baking, but you'll be left with additional flavour to the batter.
👩🏻🍳 How to Make
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
This Cherry Clafoutis is an incredibly easy recipe to make. It's similar to making a crêpes batter and is done in only a few minutes. I make it by hand but you can use a hand-held electric whisk, or place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse it a couple of times.
STEP 1. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whisk enough until the sugar and eggs are fully combined (Images 1 & 2).
STEP 2. Add in the flour and whisk again. Sift the flour directly into the bowl - this removes any existing lumps.
TIP: When whisking in the flour, start whisking in the centre of the bowl. Slowly work your way to the outside, incorporating more and more of the mixture. This ensures a smooth batter.
STEP 3. Combine the milk, melted butter and vanilla extract and whisk together (Images 5 & 6). The batter will feel quite runny, like a crêpes batter.
TIP: If you find the batter lumpy, use an immersion blender or pop the batter in a food processor and whiz until smooth. Don't mix too much, as this will activate the gluten and create a rubbery finished texture.
STEP 4. Prepare the pan. Traditionally, a ceramic quiche pan is used, but you can use any casserole dish, pie pan, or cast iron skillet you prefer. Rub softened butter all over the base to coat.
STEP 5. Assemble batter and cherries in pan. Place cherries in the base of the dish (Image 7). There should be more or less enough to cover the base.
Very slowly pour in the batter, trying not to move the cherries (Images 8 & 9). If they shift slightly, guide them back into place with a fork. Now, wait for the oven to come to temperature.
STEP 6. Preheat the oven and bake. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
TIP: Why not preheat the oven at the start of the method? The batter has time to rest by assembling the Cherry Clafoutis in the dish and waiting whilst the oven comes to temperature. The resting time allows the gluten to relax, much like when making a pancake batter.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until set in the middle (Image 10). It will look really puffed up and thick when you pull the clafoutis from the oven, but as the steam dissipates, the clafoutis will deflate and set in place.
🥣 How To Serve
The Cherry Clafoutis is at its absolute best when served warm but is still undeniably tasty when cooled to room temperature. You can dust it with powdered icing sugar before serving or serve with a drizzle of cream.
This dessert is best served directly from the baking dish. There's no need to remove it. Either slice or scoop some out and enjoy!
💭 Recipe Pro Tips
- Make it in a blender if you want to make it in under five minutes! Pour all the batter ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth. This literally takes a super quick couple of minutes!
- Don't whisk the batter too vigorously, as you'll incorporate too many air bubbles into the batter. If there are bubbles on the surface of the batter when baking, the appearance isn't great in the finished clafoutis. Skim them off before pouring the batter into the dish.
- Butter the dish well. The batter will stick to the base without the butter, making cutting wedges of clafoutis near impossible! The sugar also helps prevent the batter from sticking.
📋 Recipe FAQs
If you bake the clafoutis in a too-hot oven, the batter can overbake and become rubbery in texture. If needed, bake using an oven thermometer to guarantee a consistent temperature.
The cherries are plentiful, so they pack a full cherry flavour to this dessert in every mouthful. The batter bakes up to a light but not too sweet flan-like consistency. The flavour is gentle and allows the cherry flavour to shine through.
Store leftover clafoutis either in an airtight container or wrapped well with plastic wrap in the fridge. It will last 3-4 days and is best if reheated. Zap the clafoutis for 15-second intervals until it’s warm. You can also cover it with foil and bake at 180C (350F) for 5-10 minutes or until warm.
Clafoutis doesn't freeze well. The fruit can get very soggy once thawed and can ruin the custardy texture. This is one of those desserts that is definitely best when made fresh.
Yes, you can make the batter ahead and refrigerate until ready to bake. Please make sure that you whisk it well before pouring over the fruit.
🇫🇷 More popular French Recipes
If you tried this Classic Cherry Clafoutis or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you!
Classic Cherry Clafoutis Recipe
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 30 g unsalted butter, melted, plus softened butter for greasing the dish.
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 85 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- 240 ml whole milk
- 500 g fresh cherries, stemmed and de-stoned
- Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl until fully combined.
- Add in the flour and whisk again. Sift in the flour in one go and whisk until it's fully combined. Start whisking from the centre of the bowl and work your way out
- Add the milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Pour in the milk, melted butter and vanilla extract and whisk together until smooth. The batter will feel quite runny, like a crêpes batter.
- Prepare the pan. Grease the base and sides of the baking dish well with softened butter.
- Assemble batter and cherries in pan and bake. Place cherries in the base of the dish. Very slowly pour in the batter, trying not to move the cherries. If they shift slightly, they can be guided back into place with a fork. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven and bake. Preheat the oven to 180℃ (350℉).Bake for 40-45 minutes, until set in the middle. It will look puffed up and thick when you pull the clafoutis from the oven, but as the steam dissipates, the clafoutis will deflate and set in place. The baking time depends on the size of your baking dish and the thickness of your filling.Set aside for 10-15 minutes, dust with powdered icing sugar (optional), and serve warm.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.