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Fruit clafoutis is a traditional baked dessert from the Limousine and Auvergne regions of Southwestern France. It is made with fresh fruit and batter and is often served as a breakfast dish. The fruit and batter combine to make a custard-like pudding that also has been compared to flan. While fruit clafoutis traditionally was made with cherries, other fruits often are used as well.
Clafoutis is made with seasonal fruits such as cherries, apples and pears. Peaches, apricots and plums also are popular choices for fruit clafoutis. A wild berry clafoutis can be made with blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.
The fruit is pitted and sliced, when appropriate. Cherries are sometimes left unpitted, because the pits are believed to impart almond flavoring to fruit clafoutis. Removing the skins of the fruit is optional, though many prefer to leave them, because they add to the visual appeal of the finished dish.
Many recipes call for the fruit to be soaked in rum, brandy or a flavored liqueur for up to an hour before preparing the dish for baking. One can use orange or another juice as a non-alcoholic alternative. The fruit is drained, and the reserved liquid is saved for use in the batter.
Flour, eggs and butter are combined to make the batter. Milk and cream are added, along with the liquid drained from the fruit, if any. A time-efficient method of mixing is by blender. Others recommend starting with a roux made of melted butter and flour and slowly working in the eggs, cream and other ingredients.
Lemon or orange juice and zest are frequently added to the fruit filling. Zest can be purchased or one can make it by grating the colored peel of a lemon or orange while being sure to avoid the bitter, white rind. Sliced or grated almonds, crushed walnuts or pistachios also are used in some versions of clafoutis.
The fruit filling is placed in a greased and floured glass baking dish. Sliced fruit is sometimes carefully arranged in spiraling patterns that will be visible after the dish is baked. Then the batter is poured over the fruit. Clafoutis is usually baked in an oven at 350° to 400° Fahrenheit (176.6° to 204.4° Celsius) for 50 to 55 minutes. The finished dish can be topped with powdered sugar or a mixture of brown and granulated white sugar.
Clafoutis should be allowed to set for about 15 minutes before serving. It can be served with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche. This dish has very little sugar added, with much of the sweetness coming from the fresh fruit, and it's low in carbohydrates, making it a suitable choice for some on restricted diets.
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