The Pear & Cherries Clafoutis is a fruit based French dessert easy to adapt to all seasons.There are still some beautiful d’Anjou Pears available and this Pear & Cherries Clafoutis is a wonderful way to savor them before they disappear during the warmer months. The Clafoutis is a French dessert as delicious as it is simple to make.
The clafoutis (also spelled clafouti) originates from the Limousin region, in the centre of France. You know, the place of the beautiful Limoges porcelain. Traditionally, what makes a clafoutis a clafoutis are the cherries (such as in this classic version). In fact, purists may say that if there are no cherries, it is not a clafoutis, rather a “flaugnarde” (or “flognarde”). I am not sure what the appropriate appellation is when you mix cherries with other fruits, as in this recipe, but I find “clafoutis” much more fun to say than “flaugnarde.” The word ‘flaugnarde’ is more charming once we know that it is derived from the Occitan words fleunhe and flaunhard which both translate as “soft” or “downy”. Clafoutis is also an Occitan word. It is easy to pronounce ‘clafoutis’, and it sounds happy; try it: “cla-foo-tee.” I bet you are smiling!
The Montmorency Cherry (from the Val d’Oise, just north of Paris) is well suited for the clafoutis, but you can follow your inspiration and easily create your own flavor, and come up with you own combination. In the summer months, apricots are a nice option. In winter, I find the cherries & pear combination particularly alluring. Of course, cherries are not readily available at this time of the year but that is fine: dried cherries, as you will see, are marvelous in this clafoutis.
Aside from the fruits, all you will really need for this custard is flour, sugar, milk and eggs. Here I have added some heavy cream to the milk, and some spices for added flavor. I like the fragrance of cardamom. So for the final touch, I add a pinch of cardamom and also some cinnamon. Feel free to experiment with flavors you like. For example, I would like to try cranberries instead of cherries, or even dried plums. A common suggestion for flavor is to add lemon zest. Follow your inspiration.
After playing around with several recipes, I have found that reducing the amount of sugar indicated in many recipes allows for a sweet and tasty bite without compromising a sensible diet. I have reduced it to one tablespoon and this seems to satisfy everyone.
To make this Pear & Cherries Clafoutis you will need:
I used a 7 x 7 in. dish, about 1.5 in. tall. What was left of the mix I divided onto 4 small ramequins, to have nice individual clafoutis.
½ cup (65 gr.) dried cherries (I used the Dried Pitted Tart Montmorency Cherries from Trader’s Joe)
1 ripe pear, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cored (I used d’Anjou Pear)
¾ cup milk (any kind, I used almond milk)
¾ cup heavy cream
¼ cup (35 gr.) all-purpose flour (and a little bit more for dusting dish)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pinch cardamom
1 pinch cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400⁰ F.
Oil a baking dish, dust with flour and remove excess.
In a bowl, cover the dried cherries with hot water by about 1 inch. Let stand about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut pears lengthwise in thin slices. Fan the slices in the baking dish. Use some for the ramequins if using.
Mix the milk and heavy cream together with the flour. Add the sugar.
Beat the eggs and add the vanilla extract, and the spices (Cardamom, Cinnamon).
Combine the milk and flour mixture to the eggs and spices mixture.
Pour the batter onto the baking dish. The batter will rise so do not fill more than ¾ of the way up.
Drain the cherries and sprinkle on the dish.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until it is nicely golden.
Take out of the oven and let it cool down before serving.
If you need to keep the clafoutis in the refrigerator for a while, simply take it out of the fridge about half an hour before serving. Clafoutis are nice at room temperature.
This Pear & Cherries Clafoutis is a voyage through France: the pear from Anjou, the Cherries from Montmorency, north of Paris, and the savoir-faire of the Limousin region, where the Clafoutis is from.
The Clafoutis is a French traditional dessert, easy to make and fun to adapt to your own taste and to what is available during the seasons.
You may also be interested by:
- Classic recipe of Clafoutis, using fresh cherries.