What is it? Here’s all you need to know: it is easier and more delicious than a pancake and will change the way you think about summer fruits (and maybe some other stuff like pears and apples and chocolate and hazelnuts and…?). I don’t think there is a consensus on the “classic” clafoutis, but from my research, I think it is either made with cherries or pears. Because they are in season and recently been reasonably priced, I made mine with cherries, but rumor has it that peaches and other stone fruit work really well, and I think that a combo of apricots and blueberries might be utterly amazing.
The most difficult part about making a clafoutis is hefting the cast iron skillet in which it is made in and out of the oven. You could probably make it in another kind of baking dish, but why? A cast iron skillet is something you should have in your kitchen at this very moment, hopefully out and showcased on the stovetop, ready and waiting for your next delicious creation. So here is how you do it:
Preheat your oven to 325.
Drop a knob of high-quality butter (try something other than store brand and you will be happy you did) into the skillet and, using your impeccably clean hands, smooth out all along the bottom and up the sides.
Whisk together in a large mixing bowl:
3 room-temp eggs
1/2 C whole milk (maybe half and half, if you feel like it)
1/2 C sugar
Dash of vanilla or almond extract
Pinch of salt
2 TBSP melted butter
1/2 C of flour (I used cake flour, but I think all-purpose is just fine)
The mixture should be smooth and lump-free when you finish (you don’t want any bits of dry flour). I think it’s best to let this sit for a bit while you prepare the fruit, so I make the batter right off the bat. Note: the batter will be thin; somewhere between crepe batter and pancake batter.
Next, prepare your cherries or other fruit. On the amount, I just eyeball it. You want enough to cover the bottom of your skillet nicely without being too crowded. You should probably have enough to that you can snack on while you are prepping them, too. You don’t have to do anything to them besides pit them. There is enough sugar in the batter to sweeten them up and I don’t really see any point to messing with them any further than that. Pitting is a drag and an mess, but just get through it – I know there are devices and tricks for doing this, but honestly, I see no point. You know where the pit is and you just need to get it out with your hands. If you’re making this for someone you want to impress (mother-in-law, love interest, professional chef), you might want to try out a cherry pitter or one of these tricks, but this clafoutis will look and taste just as good if your cherries are little mangled.
Remix the batter to make extra sure that there are no lumps, then pour into the buttered skillet. Then, evenly distribute your cherries over the top and pop into the oven immediately. Bake for about 20 minutes and, depending on how even your oven is, turn it halfway to encourage consistent browning. In total, it should take 35 to 45 minutes. You want the batter to puff and brown lightly, but watch that the edges don’t get too overdone. The middle will remain somewhat loose and custardy, so don’t freak out if it looks a little underdone in the center. That’s one of the best parts. =)
Do you need one more parting shot to clafoutease you?
Ha! My sweet friend Pari will love this.