Life’s a bowl of cherries? Make clafouti.

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Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy, can she bake a cherry pie…

Sure.

But does she want to?

Not always.

I love pie as much as the next person. Possibly even more; pie might very well be my #1 dessert.

GOOD pie, that is. Pie with tender, buttery, flaky crust. One whose fruit filling is perfectly thickened – neither wet/watery, nor dry/stiff.

A pie whose flavor is the perfect marriage of sweet (though not too) and fruit, with perhaps a mere touch of spice.

Despite the number of years I’ve been baking, pie is still a challenge. Maybe my sights are set too high (see above). Or maybe I simply don’t have the touch.

I find pie-baking is like golf: every now and then you hit that great shot and think, “Ah-HA! I’ve got it!” Till you shank the next shot, 2 minutes later

Can I bake a GREAT cherry pie? Sometimes. Especially using sour cherries and my favorite recipe, Mr. Washington’s Cherry Pie.

But when Bing cherries are in season, and I want a fast, easy, non-challenging cherry dessert, I click right to Cherry Clafouti.

Oh, boy… nothing like a bowl of crisp, sweet of Bing cherries!

And here are two flavors that marry beautifully with cherry – vanilla, and almond.

Start with a pound of cherries.

How to pit a pound of cherries in under 2 minutes? It’s easy, when you have a cherry pitter.

It took me 1 minute, 38 seconds to pit this pound of cherries. No joke! I timed it. Pits go into the hopper; and about 3 to 3 1/2 cups of pitted cherries go into the bowl.

Beware, though – there’ll be some spattering. Wear an apron, for sure.

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Lightly grease a 9” round cake pan, one that’s at least 2” deep.

Put the cherries into the pan; they should form a single layer that pretty much covers the bottom.

Put the following in a blender or food processor:

3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup lukewarm milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup (3 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Blend till frothy.

If you’re using a mixer, beat the liquid ingredients, then add the sugar and flour, quickly whisking to combine.

Pour the batter over the cherries in the pan.

It won’t cover them; that’s OK.

Bake the clafouti on a lower-middle rack of your oven for 20 minutes.

See why you need a pan that’s at least 2” deep?

Reduce the oven heat to 350°F. I have a bad habit of forgetting to turn the oven down in situations like this…

Bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. The edges should be pulling away from the sides of the pan.

Remove from the oven.

See how the clafouti is pulling away from the edges of the pan?

Notice the garnish of sliced almonds. I added 1/4 cup of sliced almonds for the final 10 minutes of baking, expecting them to brown nicely; they didn’t. Next time, I’d toast the almonds first, then sprinkle them on just before serving.

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Cherry Clafouti.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. DessertForTwo

    Wow-I’ve never seen a clafouti rise so high! This looks like an impressive dessert–most clafouti recipes end up looking like a flat pancake studded with fruit. Still delicious, but not as impressive as this one!

    Well, it DOES sink rather quickly – like one of those oven pancakes. But it’s awfully tasty… PJH

    Reply
  2. Sarah

    That looks lovely. I don’t use pitted cherries often enough to warrent buying one, but that pitter would have been nice to have the other day. It took me 45 minutes to pit 2 pounds of cherries!

    It would be nice to have a lending library of kitchen tools, wouldn’t it, Sarah? :) PJH

    Reply
  3. ATL Cook

    And to think I just finished eating about a lb of fresh cherries. @ $1.99 I bought FIVE lbs and half are still left. This looks perfect. I do have a cherry pitter in that drawer of gadgets my husband used to laugh at. No laughing at this dessert.

    Of course it was 105º this afternoon, so baking is a midnight activity this time of the year.

    We finally cooled down to the 80s yesterday, and baking can once more be pursued during daylight hours! :) PJH

    Reply
  4. Wei-Wei

    Holy yum! This looks amazing. I’ve never had clafouti before (is it clafouti or clafoutis?)

    Wei-Wei

    I’ve always seen it refered to as clafouti, Wei-Wei… PJH

    Reply
  5. Tom

    That looks good! The batter seems really thin. Time for more Bakery Science 101: There isn’t all that much flour in the recipe. Is it the eggs that puff up and bind it all together? I’ve tried clafouti before and haven’t been very impressed. Maybe it was my technique (it MUST need more flour, it’s too runny). Thanks, I’ll try it soon. Blueberry season is upon us! -Tom

    Tom, it’s like popover batter, and the results are similar – the batter puffs up all around the cherries, then settles quickly once you take it out of the oven. Yes, it’s the eggs. It’s rather like one of those Dutch baby pancakes. And I’d bet blueberry would be fine, though I’d probably fill the pan half full, rather than just a single layer of berries. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  6. Mimi

    How weird…I just made a cherry pie day before yesterday, and the song lyrics you used at the beginning of your post were the title of my post!! Great minds think alike I suppose!
    I’m tempted to go get more cherries to try the clafouti, though. I tried this technique with pears some years ago and it was a disaster. But this recipe seems a bit different. I’ll give it another go…

    Mimi, I’m glad you recognized the song. We’ve had some feedback from readers who thought I was being sexist, mentioning only “she” – I was thinking perhaps the song was just TOO old! Enjoy the clafouti – PJH

    Reply
  7. Adela

    How does one pit cherries without a cherry pitter? Sorry for the silly question, but we are only beginning to get fresh cherries down here in Mexico where I live.

    Adela, take the tip of a sharp knife and dig it into the center; wriggle it around till the pit comes out. The cherries will be a bit ragged, but that’s OK; they’ll still be delicious. Readers, does anyone have any tips on pitting cherries without a pitter? PJH

    Reply
  8. Linette

    I have frozen cherries, does that make a difference? I did not want to try and fail, so I thought I should ask beforehand.

    Linette, make sure they’re completely thawed before you use them – should work just fine. PJH

    Reply
  9. Becky

    I enjoy a wonderful clafouti recipe that requires almond flour instead of wheat. It gives a kind of gentleness to the dessert (I think) and subtle additional almond flavor to complement the cherries.

    RE: pitting cherries without a pitter
    Try pushing the end of a plastic drinking straw into the cherries to push out the pit.

    Reply
  10. Maria

    This looks wonderful!
    I’ve had a “refillable” bowl of cherries on my counter for a few weeks now ~ so addicted!
    I don’t have a cherry pitter … we looked at this very cool gadget in the store, but really needed the apple peeler for our backyard apples…
    I don’t supposed there’s an easy way to pit cherries by hand ;o)

    I love all the comments here! ATL Cook’s midnight baking made me smile … when we want to bake, we’ll do what we have to!
    Happy Weekend Everyone!
    ~Maria
    ps. Out of necessity, I Googled “how to get cherry stains out” and found some great ideas.

    I tried the hydrogen peroxide mixed with clear detergent method… and it worked in 10 mins! People also said boiling water worked well too. What did we ever do without Google?
    answer: Call Mom – LOL

    Call Mom is right! :) See Jean’s suggestion for pitting cherries – thanks, Jean… PJH

    Reply
  11. Jean Roue

    It might depend on the variety of cherry how easily they pit but for just a few cups: Thumb on the stem end of the cherry and index finger on the bottom and gently squeeze. The pit will pop out the side. If not maybe a slice in the side of the cherry and then squeeze. I had done this years ago for many pints of cherry jam. Worked beautifully.

    Reply
  12. Becky

    It’s gluten-free if you make it with almond flour, which (arguably) is the traditional, French way. Of course, that’s another recipe (mine is from one of the newer “Joy of Cooking” cookbooks).

    Reply
  13. Janice Garrison

    Re: Pitting cherries
    I have read about the straw method but have not tried it. I use the messy way. I put on gloves and use a paring knife to half the cherry and then pinch out the pit from one of the halves. Time consuming but no pits! And I do love fresh cherry pie.

    Reply
  14. Nancy HD

    Oh! Oh! Oh!
    Pitting cherries!
    I know how! Grandma taught me to open out a wire paper clip into an “S”, and then you insert one end into the stem end of the cherry and hook the pit out! This method leaves both your cherries AND your composure pretty.
    Of course, it would be more fun doing it with Grandma…

    Reply
  15. Shirley M. Tenhover

    It would be helpful if when you’re featuring a recipe with a foreign name like clafouti or clafoutis that you give a pronunciation so that those new to the subject will tell their friends the correct way to say it! This rustic French dish originally from Limousin, in southern France was known for its sweet black cherries and was traditionally eatten with the pits inside the fruits. We’ve certainly improved on the way we enjoy the dish. (pronounced “kla-foo-TEE”)

    Great idea, Shirley – I’ll keep the pronunciation hint in mind next time we venture into “how do you pronounce this?” realm… :) PJH

    Reply
  16. Linda in Chicago

    This looks GREAT. I bet it’s possible to substitute other fruit besides the one blueberry suggestion. My boyfriend loves plums and I think this would work great with fresh plums cut in wedges.

    Reply
  17. pam

    I’d like to try this with blackberries, since I have so many in the freezer, anyone try blackberry clafoutis?

    That would work just fine, Pam – go for it! PJH

    Reply
  18. Elizebeth

    I’m currently studying French, and from all I’ve been taught thus far, the final consonant in all French words is not pronounced. If Clafouti is a borrowed word from another language, such as Italy, THEN the final “TEE” would be sounded. So, Clafoutis would be then the proper spelling if the “TEE” is pronounced. If the spelling were only Clafouti, the pronunciation would be Cla-FOOT (with the double OO as in spoon).
    I loved the idea of the straw to pit the cherry! I’m headed to Luxembourg my next assignment and I am looking forward to getting some cooking/baking courses from the real deal.
    I concur that anytime we Americans use foreign words, we should understand how to properly pronounce them. Cheers!

    Here’s what the dictionary says:
    cla·fou·ti /ˌklɑfuˈti/ [klah-foo-tee]
    –noun, plural ‐fou·tis /‐fuˈti/ [‐foo-tee]
    a tart made of fruit, esp. cherries, baked in a thick, sweet batter.

    So looks like you pronounce all the vowels… PJH

    Reply
  19. Sue

    This looks wonderful! But… does it taste eggy? I’m not a fan of eggy dishes.Thanks,Sue

    Do you taste the egg? Yes. Is it overly “eggy”? I’d say no. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

    If you think popovers are too eggy, Sue, then you wouldn’t like this; it’s very similar to popover or Dutch baby pancake batter… PJH

    Reply
  20. Cathy B

    I made this using stone fruit (3 peaches, 3 apricots, 3 plums) that had been blanched & peeled. Yummy, although I didn’t know it was custard, not cake. Husband loved it.

    Reply
  21. KimberlyD

    Ok, thanks I know have to go to the near by orchard and buy cherries! (only 1/2 mile away from where I live) LOL! I’ve been buying them already but to eat plain and just ran out. I love bing cherries. Travis City Michigan, even has a cherry festival every year. And I know the song, I can remember singing it in school choir, and now I have that song in my head! THANKS! LOL!

    Reply
  22. carrie

    I pit cherries the same way Janice does, but it never occurred to me to wear gloves! :)

    Paring knife around the equator (or pole to pole), the pop the pit out with my thumbnail. I do plums the same way.

    Reply
  23. Margy

    I pit cherries with the rounded tip of my vegetable peeler–go in through the stem end and scoop it out. It splits the cherry a little, but works pretty well. My grandmother had two cherry trees in her yard; she used an old-fashioned hairpin to scoop the pits out.

    Reply
  24. Tonia

    Pitting cherries w/o pitter: I just use my thumb poking it in at the top of the cherry where the stem is. Funny story about cherry pitter: my mom bought herself a cherry pitter and was just having a dandy time pitting cherries thinking “Wow! This is really slick!” Made a pie and we all started eating and. . .whoa look at these pits in the pie! Moral: check to see that the pitter is actually removing ALL the pits!

    Reply
  25. Paul from Ohio

    Inexpensive, single cherry at a time pitter, at Target. Really works a whole lot easier than digging them out with a knife point – and it has a small splash shield to help contain the splatter.

    Reply
  26. Val

    I am going to go ahead and make a cherry clafouti and failing that I will take the plunge and try out a peach one! It just looks so ideal for this time of year.

    Reply
  27. Caitlin

    My favorite clafouti recipe to-date is one from the Joy of Baking website, but I’m always intrigued to try other variations and of course KAF rarely steers me wrong. Just a thought on the pitting dilemma — try NOT pitting them. I know this seems kind of crazy, but as the pits bake they leak out an absolutely amazing almond-ish flavor. You need to be cautious when you eat (kind of like when eating fish with bones) but I think it’s worth it. Plus no time spent pitting the cherries! There’s kind of an old wives legend that the pits are poisonous, but do a little googling and you’ll find that you’d have to eat absolutely obscene amounts of stone fruit pits before you were in danger. I look forwards to trying this recipe after my next grocery store visit!

    Caitlin, that’s very interesting. In fact this is how the dessert is made in France – complete with pits. But it never occurred to me they were there for flavor – of course! I may have to try this next time. Thanks for the good info – PJH

    Reply
  28. Cindy P.

    I just read in a Nora Roberts’ novel to use a bobby pin to pit cherries. Just push the bobby pin into the stem end of the cherry and push the pit out the other end. Voila!

    Sounds like a plan, Cindy – thanks for sharing. PJH

    Reply
  29. Sandy Patterson

    How do you think this would be with sour cherries? I have at least 10 quart bags of pitted cherries in my freezer. Thought a little powdered sugar on the top wouldn’t hurt either.

    Sandy, I think it would be fine just as you describe. Perhaps increase the sugar n the batter a smidgen? Go for it! PJH

    Reply
  30. Audrey

    I made this tonight but it burned around the edges. I think my pan is the culprit here! :( Otherwise it was really good.

    Audrey, perhaps your pan heated unevenly, or it just got a bit too hot. Hope you were able to enjoy the middle at least! PJH

    Reply
  31. Audrey

    I think my pan was too thin……Not a heavy cake pan. Don’t worry I still ate some!! :) I always get wonderful recipes from KAF!!!!!!

    Reply
  32. jschweier

    Having friends for dinner this week and would love to serve the clafouti. Should I bake it while we are having dinner or can I make it an hour before? Julie

    Julie, best to bake it while you’re having dinner so it’ll be warm – which is tastier than room temp… PJH

    Reply
  33. Lenore

    I made it this weekend and, although it may be considered a travesty, added choco chips…wonderful! I put the chips on top of the cherries so they did not sink to the bottom. Also, thank you for the pronouncation info. I did not know how to tell my husband what we were eating.

    Reply
  34. Susan

    I think I’ll try this with blueberries and put some grated lemon peel into the batter- what do you think? How far in advance can you make it IF you are baking it during dinner with company?
    You can prepare the fruit while you prepare dinner, then just whip up the batter just before you sit down to eat. This way the clafouti bakes while you enjoy your company. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  35. Ann

    I made this on Saturday — DELICIOUS! Thanks for this simple, tasty recipe. I can’t wait for our more local Flathead cherries to come into season.

    Reply
  36. Julie

    Is it okay to use a glass/ceramic pan? And does it have to be a 9″? If my pan is 8″ what allowences to I need to make.
    Hi Julie,
    It’s fine to use glass or ceramic, just keep an eye on the baking time, it will probably be shorter. As for the pan, it really does need to be 9”, or the clafouti will overflow. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  37. Angie

    Don’t have sour cherries around here and didn’t want to shell out $s for a cherry pitter, so I used slightly unripe peaches which we have in abundance(for a dryer fruit layer) and it came out delicious.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  38. Marla

    Lessons learned in making cherry clafouti:
    Don’t use KA white whole wheat flour (didn’t have all-purpose flour, so I substituted).
    I’d like it a little sweeter…maybe 1 cup of sugar, instead of 1/2.
    Would also be a nice breakfast treat…especially without additional sugar.
    :)
    Thanks for sharing your results. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  39. Sharon

    My only cherry pitter is my thumbnail. If I’m lucky, my right thumbnail is about 3/8″ long and perfect for poking into the top (stem end) of a cherry and scooping out the seed. It’s as neat, fast and much cheaper than buying a cherry pitter!

    Reply
  40. Shirley

    I tried my own experiment, halving the recipe and making in individual ramekins since we’re a household of only 2. I wasn’t thrilled with the results. I found the custard a bit eggy and chewy, and not sure if that’s how a clafouti is or if it’s due to my changes (probably the latter). I had cut the time in half and reduced the temperature to 425 and 325. Anyway, my word of advice: make the recipe as it’s written.

    Shirley, clafouti is rather like Yorkshire pudding – or a Dutch Baby pancake. So maybe you were just expecting something different? Thanks for sharing your experience here – PJH

    Reply
  41. Kim

    Put a piping bag star tip on the end of your finger and push into the cherry and the pit pops out the other end. Works great though it does tend to mess up the edges of the star tip.

    Cool! Thanks for sharing, Kim- PJH

    Reply
  42. Hannah

    Love, love, love the clafouti. Am going to try it with some local peaches next. It is a snap to make! But did have a bit of a time getting it out of the pan while still warm. Perhaps I should use a solid shortening rather than a non stick spray. Thanks for the recipe. It is a keeper for my family.

    Hannah, shortening does generally work better in sticky situations… I think you should try it. Good luck – PJH

    Reply

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