Friday, July 15th, 2011

Cherry Clafoutis

Putting aside for a moment that 'clafoutis' sounds like a venereal disease, clafoutis are super tasty and so easy that I’m actually thinking of not publishing this so people will still think I’m impressive (no one thinks I’m impressive) and they also are an excellent way to use up those cherries you bought because you are incapable of walking past a bag of cherries at the market without buying them but then you get them home and are all, “LOL what am I going to do with these cherries?!”

You’re going to make clafoutis, is what. And you could do it the gross New York Times way or you could do it my way, and I know very well which you'd prefer.

Okay so the only hard thing about making clafoutis is pitting the cherries, which isn’t even really hard so much as it’s a pain in the ass, which are two different things. But I have a solution for you, oh yes I do!

Ladies, and certain gentlemen, are you familiar with the sort of man who hovers around the kitchen while you’re trying to incant and cast spells on produce? Have you ever gotten one who comes up behind you and rests his chin on your shoulder in a “Whatcha doin’” type move while you’re slicing bell peppers? (Mmm-hm. It’s a miracle I’ve not been imprisoned for knife crimes, is all I’ll say.) Well the point is this: Pitting cherries is a good task to give to that particular sort of man, if you are unlucky enough to be saddled with one. It gives him something to do other than annoy you. If you aren’t in possession of one of those, you’ll have to pit the cherries yourself, which is fine because you can put on some music and take off your clothes and pit cherries in the nude while singing along to “Right Here Waiting” by Richard Marx and no one will ever know about it until you slip up and tell the Internet that that’s how you pit cherries—oh and also by using a Leifheit Cherrymat Cherry Stoner, of course.

(And before one of you know-it-alls chimes in: Traditional clafoutis are made with unpitted cherries but the cost of modern orthodonture being what it is I don’t think any of us are going to risk our teeth for a dessert.)

Once you’ve pitted the cherries—two cups or so? That will be just fine—dump them in a baking dish that you’ve sprayed lightly with PAM. Oh sure, if you’re the last person on the planet who butters a baking dish go right ahead and do that instead. [Ed Note: GOD, SERIOUSLY, DO NOT USE PAM!]

Get your hands on a mixing bowl, and whisk together the following things:

3 eggs, 1 cup of sugar, ½ cup of flour that you’ve sifted (which is different from a half cup of sifted flour) and ¼ teaspoon of salt.

Okay great, are these things smooth now? Fantastic, now whisk in these things:

1 cup of milk, 1½ teaspoons vanilla and 2 teaspoons of kirsch OR ¾ teaspoon almond extract.

(Should we take a moment to talk about kirsch? Yes let’s! Kirsch—properly kirschwasser—is cherry brandy with a bit of an almond flavor to it and doesn’t that just sound delightful? Honesty time: It’s sort of a bitch to find an affordable bottle of it so if you want to substitute Grand Marnier or Cointreau that will be A-OK. Or you could use the almond extract! This also might be a good time to mention that if you don’t care for cherries or nudity or Richard Marx you could certainly substitute other fruits into this recipe. You might want to consider adjusting your sugar levels based on the sweetness of whatever fruit you choose—definitely less sugar works, not more—but maybe you don’t want to consider that, which is fine too! It’s your mouth!)

Okay now pour that wet stuff over the cherries. Yeah, really that’s all. I know! Put the whole thing in a 9×9 or 10×7 square or rectangular Le Creuset or other form of baking dish. Do not use what is photographed here, a foil thingey, because, ew.

It goes in a 350-degree oven for 40-50 minutes. When it’s very lightly brown on top it’s done! It will be slightly wobbly in the center, and kind of puffy, but will set up and then deflate and try not to feel upset about that.

You could sprinkle it with some powdered sugar before serving. You know, if you’re not a monster who holds out on the powdered sugar.

Jolie Kerr has run out of clever byline bio ideas.

46 Comments / Post A Comment

katherine (#10,025)

"you get them home and are all, “LOL what am I going to do with these cherries?!”

I don't understand this. People can buy cherries without eating the whole bag in a day or two? (also known as: why I don't buy cherries)

BadUncle (#153)

@katherine Seriously. It takes considerable restraint to make them last more than 10 minutes.

@katherine and BadUncle Yup. That is pretty much what ALWAYS happens to cherries when I buy them. However, I have made clafoutis with strawberries and I can attest that it is fantastic and very, very easy.

laurel (#4,035)

God, I wish I'd bought some cherries.

SeanP (#4,058)

@katherine this. Cherries get hoovered up at my house long before they could get made into anything. I wonder if red (sour) cherries would work?

P.S. I really don't get the PAM-shaming that goes on here. I mean, Paula Deen has nothing on me in the love-of-butter department, but seriously. In the amounts required to grease a pan, neither is going to have any substantial effect on the flavor of the dish. And they both work fine for their intended purpose of keeping stuff from sticking to the pan.

cherrispryte (#444)


kidding. this looks delicious.

jolie (#16)

@cherrispryte Next up: Sprite-batter pancakes

cherrispryte (#444)

@jolie Oddly enough, my most requested baked good from my coworkers is a lemon poundcake that contains a cup of Sprite. It is sooooooo good, but also from Pioneer Woman, which I have mixed feelings about.

Am I gonna be the only one here to admit that I honestly have no idea what the difference is between "sifted flour" and "flour that you've sifted"?

jolie (#16)

@DorothyMantooth You might be the only one to admit it, but you won't be the only one who doesn't know. And actually? THERE IS MUCH DEBATE ON THIS TOPIC.

But! Basically the difference is that sifted flour has more air, and therefore more volume (LOL I do not even know if that is the right term) than unsifted. So a cup of unsifted flour is a very different proposition than a cup of sifted flour.

Bakers go nutty about semantics (we're assholes, yes) but my rule of thumb is this: If a recipe calls for 'a half cup of flour comma sifted' then I measure a half cup of flour and sift it. If a recipe calls for 'a half cup of sifted flour' I sift first then measure.

Annie K. (#3,563)

@jolie I do the same, at least aspirationally. But I've always wondered whether I could just get away with putting a little less flour in, on the assumption that puffed-up flour = less flour. What would you say to that?

@jolie Ooooh! Inneresting… And you know I'm all about semantic distinctions, girl! So the follow-up question is, do you need to use one of those weird old-timey metal contraptions for sifting? Or can you just use a mesh strainer? And if you use the mesh strainer, how do you avoid getting flour EVERYWHERE?

(Oh and further clarification: this recipe calls for sifting first, then?)

jolie (#16)

@DorothyMantooth Nope, measure then sift in this case. I use a mesh strainer!

And because I'm not one to hold back with you guys: To be honest, I don't worry about the sifting thing too, too much.

@jolie Sigh. And here I thought I had finally learned to parse…

boysplz (#9,812)

@DorothyMantooth If you don't want to deal with the mess of a mechanical sifter or make some contraption out of a strainer there's a little trick that approximates sifting that I learned from Bakewise.

Just fluff the flour up with a fork and then use a smaller measuring cup to transfer it over to the one that you want. As long as you don't do the thing where you scoop the flour out of the bag and smoosh it all up in the side you're probably cool for measuring flour. (If you want to be super accurate you should cook by weight but that's a whole new playing field)

Here's a link that details the process

@boysplz Honest to goodness, the very possibility that I might consider baking something at some point in the future is the very reason I own a kitchen scale!

SeanP (#4,058)

@jolie My take is that sifting after measuring helps fluff up the flour so it will incorporate better, but I doubt it's really essential. Then again, I've never made this.

tim@twitter (#10,793)

@jolie RELATEDLY, this exact conundrum is why God invented the kitchen scale.

Dave Bry (#422)

Don't leave it in the oven for too long, or the whole thing could go clafoutis! That really is a terrific word that does indeed sound like a venereal disease (as well as an explosion.) And if this is half as much fun to eat as it was to read, it will be very delicious.

Aloysius (#1,808)

I'm totally the hover around the kitchen type guy. And I will totally pit your cherries. Not in that way. (But also in that way)

@Aloysius: I'm worse than the hover guy. I'm the "I'm gonna make a quick sandwich while we're waiting for dinner because we're not eating at least for another hour, right?" guy.

C_Webb (#855)

@NotAndersonCooper As long as you're not the "Oh we're having people over in an hour? I will help by changing the oil in the car" guy.

collier (#13,548)

@C_Webb : All three of you just reaffirmed my decision to NEVER, EVER MARRY. So thanks for that!

josh_speed (#97)

Sincerely, this would be very good with peaches, apricots, plums, almonds, whatevs.
And I am dying to say "tutti frutti clafoutis," but I have no joke to accompany the punchline.

ejcsanfran (#489)

@josh_speed: "What does Little Richard order for dessert in France?" You're welcome.

SeanP (#4,058)

@josh_speed That punchline stands alone.

BadUncle (#153)

Pitting cherries is easy. Get a cherry pitter at any housewares store. Mine cost $10 at Fairway, and does six at a time.

@BadUncle Or (and this only does one at a time, but it's practically free) an unbent paper clip! Unbend the middle and use one of the Hooks that you now have to plop out the pit! Also, old fashioned U shaped hairpins(Not bobby pins)are useful here.

Thank you for finally giving me a reason to associate clafoutis with something other than Josh and Emily.

MattP (#475)

@Clarence Rosario I understand this reference and am unsure how to feel about it.

Cory (#271)

@Clarence Rosario As I was reading through the comments I became increasingly terrified that I might be the only one who still made that association. I'm very relieved that I am not.

jolie (#16)

Oh come ON guys. Like I wasn't WAITING for one of you to bring it up.

Related: We've all been at this game a long, long time, eh?

@jolie: Sweet, but not too sweet; It's been a super long time!

I just made clafoutis at work yesterday, with strawberries and blue berries to represent le tricoleur in honor of Bastille Day! One of my all time favorite so easy it's embarassing recipes. I like to mix the batter in a blender, I think it makes it puffier…Not that I'd dare contradict you.

birah r. (#4,504)

am i meant to be drinking the usual pinot on ice or should i pour something else?

SeanP (#4,058)

@birah r. Kirschwasser.

s. (#775)

Jolie, would it totally screw up the custard-type-base if I added some cocoa powder to make it chocolate? Because that seems like it would go really well with pears (or cherries, for that matter).

jolie (#16)

@s. I don't believe so, no! It would probably also be excellent paired with raspberries or oranges. GO FOR IT! And report back to me? (cleaning @ thehairpin dot com)

Turboslut (#1,036)

Ok Kerr, I'm going out on a limb here and abandoning my staple Mark Bittman pear clafouti. I am like Kierkegaard's Knight of Faith

Turboslut (#1,036)

@Turboslut Update: with God as my witness I'm going to make this every day until the day I die, and twice on Sundays

lizziebell (#17,526)

Can I use creme de cassis instead of kirsch? Please?

jolie (#16)

@lizziebell You didn't say 'Mother, may I?' (Yes.)(Yum.)

SeanP (#4,058)

@jolie lol. My wife used to belong to this recipe mailing list, and one time it came out with a little testimonial from a woman who used the recipe in question. (To the recipe author): "I hope you don't mind, but I substituted x for y in the ingredients…". She was thinking that the author was going to, what, call out the recipe police?

maginot_line (#17,585)

I'm not saying this to be traditionalist, I'm saying this because I care about your clafoutis experience:


Here's why: The cherry pits hold in heat. One is supposed to let the clafoutis cool enough that the custardy part sets up, but then what happens to all the lovely warmth? If you've pitted the cherries, the warmth disappears and you are left with a cold cherry custard. WHICH IS DELICIOUS, don't get me wrong, but it is not the magical thing that it could be.

Trust. Do it once. Live a little. Leave in the pits. See if you like it.

Regarding orthodontia concerns: If you know the pits are there, and your guests know they're there (because you told them they're there), no one will crack their teeth. Once the cherries are warm, the cherries almost pit themselves in your mouth (in a good way, for true).

I created a comment account just to preach this. YMMV, certainly, but try it at least once?

shudder (#5,913)

@maginot_line This is right. I did this. See below

shudder (#5,913)

I made this! It was really easy!

I didn't have any kirschwasser or whatever and I also didn't have a cherry pitter (what does one buy first: a cherry pitter or a terrine press?). So I used rum and pits and poured some cream on top and it was delicious. Thank you thank you thank you for the recipe, clean lady!

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