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Clafoutis is a type of dessert that is featured in French cuisine. It has a custard-like base and once baked, a texture similar to a pancake. Although the most traditional versions tend to be made with cherries, a variation known as berry clafoutis is often prepared and features berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, sprinkled into the batter before it is baked. The berries sink into the center of the batter once it’s heated through in the oven.
The basic ingredients in the batter for a berry clafoutis generally include eggs, sugar, vanilla, flour, milk, and crème fraiche. Crème fraiche is a product similar to sour cream, but with a higher fat content that is more likely to withstand heat without curdling. The batter can be flavored with the preferred variety of fresh berries. If frozen berries are going to be used, it is usually advised to not defrost them because it can cause the pigment from the berries to bleed throughout the dish and discolor it.
The process of preparing berry clafoutis usually begins with mixing the batter just until the ingredients are moistened and evenly combined. If the batter is over-mixed, it can cause the dish to be tough once it is baked. The batter may be poured into a greased baking dish and then sprinkled with the berries, or for a layered version, half of the batter and berries may be added and then topped with the remaining halves of each layer. The dish is then baked until it is golden brown and puffy, which usually takes approximately 20 to 40 minutes depending on the thickness of the dessert.
Once it is baked through, berry clafoutis may be cut into pieces and served warm, at room temperature, or cold. The dessert is often sprinkled with powdered sugar before serving and may be garnished with additional berries. For additional sweetness, a glaze made from powdered sugar whisked with crème fraiche may be drizzled atop the finished dessert.
Although clafoutis is typically prepared as a sweet dessert, it can also be made into savory versions and served as a main dish. Savory clafoutis is generally made with the same type of batter, although without the sugar or vanilla. Rather than fresh or frozen berries, the batter is often topped with savory ingredients, such as sautéed vegetables, meats, or cheese.