According to Fine Cooking, clafoutis (pronounced klah-foo-tee) is a traditional French dessert where custard is poured over fruit and then baked. It’s a simple, yet classic dessert that puffs up like a souffle while cooking, and then settles down into a dense but silky custard flan when cooled. It may look rustic, yet taste-wise it’s surprisingly sophisticated with subtle notes of brandy, almond and vanilla.
I’d been looking to try this recipe from Nicole Rees from Fine Cooking.com for ages and when I saw some delicious deep red plums at the local market the other day, I knew the time had come. What I particularly like about this recipe is that the fruit is sautéed first, creating a lovely syrup which permeates the custard and heightens the flavour. I also love the fact that it’s super quick and easy to make, which makes it a breeze to knock up if unexpected guests arrive. I adapted the recipe only slightly, using gluten-free flour instead of regular, to keep the gluten-free campers happy.
If you’ve never had clafoutis before, you’re in for a treat. Enjoy!
- 1-2 Tbsp sliced almonds
- 7 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
- 30g (2 Tbsp) unsalted butter; more for the pie plate
- 350g (12 oz) – 3 to 5 medium ripe, but firm red or black plums, pitted and quartered
- 1 Tbsp brandy
- 1 Tbsp amaretto (or 1 tsp almond essence)
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (or use gluten-free flour)
- 1/4 tsp table salt
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp orange zest (optional)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar) for dusting
- Position a rack in the centre of the oven and heat the oven to 220°C (425°F). Put a 9” pie plate into the oven so it’s hot when you eventually pour in your custard.
- Toast the almonds in a dry 10 inch skillet (fry-pan) over medium-low heat until golden. Take off heat and add 1 tablespoon of the sugar to the almonds, mix together and put aside.
- Using the same fry-pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter is bubbling and hot, add the plums, and cook, turning, until they begin to soften but hold their shape – 1 to 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the sugar over the fruit. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the sugar melts into the fruit juices and becomes a syrup (i.e. thickens) – 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the brandy and amaretto (or almond essence).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. Whisk in the eggs until the mixture is completely smooth; then whisk in the milk, cream, orange zest (if using) and vanilla.
- Remove the hot pie plate from the oven and put a dollop of butter into it, carefully swirling it around the dish until it’s covered. Pour the fruit and syrup into the pie plate (it will sizzle), spreading the fruit evenly.
- Pour the custard carefully over the fruit (the pie plate will be very full). Bake for 15 minutes, or until the custard is puffy and the centre is just set, but still jiggles in the middle. A toothpick inserted into it will come out mostly clean (a bit of moistness is fine). Don’t overbake it though as the custard will continue to firm up as it cools.
- Set the clafoutis on a wire rack and sprinkle over the toasted almonds as soon as it’s out of the oven. Cool for 10-15 minutes before serving it (it will deflate, which is normal). Or, you could leave it till it is luke-warm (some say that it’s best an hour later) or at room temperature – just be aware that it firms up as it cools (the images above were taken when the clafoutis was at room temperature, so you can see that the custard is quite firm).
- At serving time, dust liberally with icing sugar and serve as is, or with a dollop of whipped cream. It’s also good with unwhipped heavy cream poured over top. Refrigerate any left-overs – it’s really yummy cold for breakfast the next day!
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Top picture – Canon 18-55mm lens; Bottom picture – Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting