Cherry Clafoutis

Cherry clafoutis

One of the first books that made me fall in love with France, and French cuisine, was Roger Vergé’s Entertaining in the French Style. Vergé was the chef and owner of Moulin de Mougins, his world-famous restaurant on the Côte d’Azur, near Cannes. I never went, but used to page through the book, admiring the relaxed, friendly lifestyle that always seemed to revolve around a table, laden with good food and plenty of local wine. It made me want to go and be a part of it all. In fact, there are two empty seats at that table, and I’d like one of them.

Cherry clafoutis recipe

Unlike a lot of chef books, this isn’t “aspirational” cooking, that is, pictures and recipes of foods that you could never hope to make. I recently got a book by a much-admired chef and I wanted to share a recipe. But there was only one recipe in the book that could be made in less than a day, and each recipe had at least one ingredient that I had no idea where I would get it. Don’t get me wrong. I liked the book a lot and his restaurant looks amazing, but it didn’t make me want to run to the kitchen. So I admired the book, and the food, from afar.

Cherry clafoutis recipe

There are so many pictures in Chef Vergé’s book that made me flash back to my past, decades ago, when I was learning more about French cuisine while cooking in Northern California, which shares a similar climate – and ingredients – with Provence. He had dubbed it “Cuisine of the Sun.” The much-loved chef recently passed away and I revisited the book, to relive what excited me about French cuisine, way-back-when.

For those who want to see some Provençal pottery porn, you’ll be seduced by pictures of colorful Provençal pottery, platters of vegetables and herbs everywhere, and oval omelets surrounded by toasted garlic croutons. Tables are laden with bottles of both red and white wine in buckets of ice (due to the heat in Provence), wine glasses are filled with pastel-tinted rosé, and individual frozen strawberry soufflés, reflecting the sun of the south of France in the book, took me back to a certain and time and place in French cuisine.

Cherry clafoutis recipe

Published in 1986, nearly three decades ago, it’s certainly a document of an era and some of the photos are delightfully dated. When he came to visit Chez Panisse when I was cooking there, it was nice to find out that he was as jovial and welcoming as his book, and his cooking. I remember him coming to the kitchen and we found him immediately likable, with his his silver hair, bushy mustache, and beaming smile. He was traveling with another French chef who was a little – um, dour, and the contrast between the two made us even more engaged by him.

I had lost my copy of his book so quickly scrambled to find a used one, since it’s out-of-print. I believe it was reissued, but I wanted the original because I like “dated” cookbooks since they give you a glimpse into another time and era.

Cherry clafoutis_

Most of the desserts in the book are very accessible. I rustled up some big, dark cherries to make his clafoutis, which he says not to pit. I did pit them because few like it when they hit a hard cherry pit with their teeth (except, perhaps, cash-strapped dentists). Although some say the cherry pits add a certain almond flavor to desserts like clafoutis, with their hard coating around them, I doubt much of the flavor of the noyau (kernel) passes through that tough pit during baking.

After pitting my cherries, I mixed some farm eggs, milk, almond flour, and a few other ingredients into a thick batter. I poured it over the fresh cherries in a gratin dish, and baked the clafoutis during one of the hottest days of this summer. My kitchen was an inferno, but I was anticipating being rewarded with a wonderful fruit dessert for that evening.

Cherry clafoutis

Malheureusement, the recipe wasn’t what I was expecting. Instead of juicy cherries embedded in an almond-rich custard, the clafoutis was very dense, similar to a butter cake. I set it aside and the next day, I took a few more spoonfuls to see if it had improved overnight. It didn’t grow on me, and I ended up mostly plucking out the cooked cherries and eating those, leaving the crumbly almond custard behind.

Cherry clafoutis

But it’s hard to stay mad at Chef Vergé with his charming French accent and dashing good looks. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a Frenchman who can cook. Even if they stumble on writing up their recipes. (Note: The recipe in the book is different than the one presented here. It had a lot of almond flour in it, in addition to regular flour, and the proportions raised an eyebrow when I read it but I wanted to give it a go anyways.)

However I figured you probably would be less-forgiving than I am, so I made another cherry clafoutis the next day to share with you, under the wire before the end of cherry season. And although I’m not a distinguished French chef, I liked it very much. And now that I’ve got the clafoutis worked out, it’s time to work on that silver hair and dashing mustache.

Cherry clafoutis recipe

Cherry Clafoutis
Print Recipe
Eight servings
If you’ve not made clafoutis before, you’ll be delighted to find out how easy it is to make. The batter is based on a crêpe batter, so unlike a traditional custard, it contains some flour, so the texture is somewhat dense, and the thicken batter ensures that any juices that escape from the cherries are well-contained.You could use a non-juicy fruit, such as apricots or bushberries, such as raspberries or blackberries, for this clafoutis. Other fruits, like nectarines, peaches, sour cherries, and plums may exude too much juice when baking. But it’s meant to be a rustic, casual dessert, so feel free to personalize it.
1 1/4 pounds (570g) sweet cherries
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (70g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup (100g) plus 3 tablespoons (45g) sugar
1 1/3 cup (330ml) whole or lowfat milk
Softened butter, for preparing the baking dish
1.Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Smear a 2-quart (2l) shallow baking dish liberally with butter.
2. Stem and pit the cherries. Lay them in a single layer in the baking dish.
3. In a standard blender, or using an immersion blender and a bowl, mix the eggs, flour, vanilla and almond extracts, ½ cup sugar, and milk together until smooth.
4. Pour the batter over the cherries and sprinkle the fruit and batter with the 3 tablespoons of sugar.
5. Bake the clafoutis until the custard is just set; a knife poked in the center should emerge relatively clean. It’ll take about 45 minutes.

Serving: The clafoutis can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. It’s traditionally not served with any accompaniment.

Storage: The Clafoutis can be made up to one day in advance, and refrigerated overnight.


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107 comments

  • July 24, 2015 2:52pm

    Thanks for the Clafoutis Alarm David- It’s that time of year even with a heat wave as perfect fruit conspire to be baked. I always have that love/hate relationship with that dense cakey part of clafoutis and still look for the perfect solution. Time to give it another go… mercy!

    • July 24, 2015 3:10pm
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, clafoutis is more dense than a traditional custard. Vergé’s recipe was very dense, and included browned butter, but I didn’t prefer it over the more traditional clafoutis. I always find myself digging my spoon in to this recipe, plucking out the baked cherries with the batter clinging to them!

  • Oooh this looks like the perfect recipe–I have some fresh cherries on hand from the local farm and they’re quickly spoiling–guess I ought to whip up some clafoutis! :)

  • Nicole
    July 24, 2015 3:20pm

    I’m not a great baker, but love making clafoutis. I used a leftover bag of cranberries to make one last fall and it was terrific.

  • July 24, 2015 3:22pm

    Does this work with any other fruits or berries? Maybe blueberries?

    • July 24, 2015 3:26pm
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, it should work with blueberries. For other fruits, I gave some advice in the headnote of the recipe.

      • July 24, 2015 3:33pm

        Thank you!! I should have read the whole thing before I asked :)

    • Janice
      July 25, 2015 6:04pm

      Last week I made one with blueberries and it turned out great!

    • françois
      July 25, 2015 8:10pm

      work well with apricot

  • July 24, 2015 3:33pm

    Wow I want to dive into the pictures of the cookbook and live there. I love clafoutis, so simple and decadent. Thanks!

  • July 24, 2015 3:38pm

    Great idea to stop gorging on cherries when they are in season and plentiful. Just turn them into a clafoutis! By the way i heard a toothpick can substitute a pitter, for those of us who dont have one (yet). Thanks for the nostalgia :)

    • Anne E
      July 24, 2015 6:20pm

      Nii and Everyone, I improvised with 1/2 of a plastic drinking straw as a cherry pitter. That worked much better than a fancy – and expen$ive –
      Williams Sonoma pitter!

      • July 25, 2015 5:17am

        a big paper clip is my favorite cherry pitter. Around here, the Mennonites use a hair pin.

  • Marylyn Martin
    July 24, 2015 4:00pm

    David, I love your recipes, your enthusiasm for French cuisine and your approach to cooking. May I say, however, that I never pit the cherries when making clafoutis, but I do warn my guests about this, and so far nobody has complained and there have been no broken teeth. I think it just means that people eat more slowly and savour the clafoutis even more. May I also suggest that you add a tablespoon or two of Kirsch to the batter before cooking, as it makes the clafoutis taste even more delicious!

  • July 24, 2015 4:33pm

    Cherry pitter envy, a new neurosis that I never knew I had just minutes ago. My less-than-spectacular model doubles mainly to pit olives.

  • July 24, 2015 4:37pm

    Hi David, I have made 4-5 clafoutis this cherry season, with almond flour, hazelnut flour, with pits and without, and I think I’ve perfected the recipe. Like you, I don’t like having pits in the cherries because you can’t take a bite of both cherry and custard without filtering and spitting out the pit. What I think might make a difference in this recipe is the overnight maceration of the cherries (or maybe just the great cherries in France). The proof : My French husband said it was better than his mother’s, told someone else it was “the best in the world” (as opposed to his usual “pas mal”) and a Frenchwoman ate two big portions!

    • Adriana
      July 24, 2015 7:28pm

      David, have you tried your recipe using just almond meal?

      Lynn what’s your ratio of almond flour:hazelnut flour:eggs?

      Wheat flour gives me canker sores and I’m in full-on recovery mode from cheating wit La Brea bread!

      • July 30, 2015 5:18pm

        Hi Adriana, I can’t include links here, but I tried two recipes that just use almond flour. (I wouldn’t recommend the one with 100% hazelnut flour) If you click on my name, you’ll be brought to my clafoutis recipe, and at the bottom are links to two recipes, one by Guy Savoy and one by Christophe Michalak. (or alternatively google those names + clafoutis) The one by Michalak is more biscuit-y than custard-y. Good luck!

        • Adriana
          July 30, 2015 8:28pm

          Thanks Lynn!

  • Tracy
    July 24, 2015 4:48pm

    What adjustments could I make to use sour/pie cherries? A neighbor has a bumper crop but I’ve only found recipes using sweet cherries. Thanks!

  • Jeannine
    July 24, 2015 5:16pm

    A slightly different topic – I live on rue des Bluets by ESCP. I shop at Oberkampf and the marche au Richard Lenoir. I have been so disappointed in the quality of fruit/veg in the market. An exception les fruit de la Tour – Marie-Noelle et Philippe Argaud. The quality I purchase in London at my local – Portobello is higher. Cannot belive it, but true. Might you name suppliers you find there who sell goods that aren’t wilted, dry or half rotten in the market? Or take Paris readers on a market tour? BTW my sister lives in Mougins next to village and knew Roger Verge and many of his staff. When we dined chez Verge it was wonderful. Then he sold and the name was spoiled by the buyers – happens, no? Thanks for any suggestions.

  • Mary
    July 24, 2015 5:18pm

    Thank you for the delicious recipe. Could I substitute 1/2 cup almond flour for the all purpose flour or will it affect the recipe?

  • jasmine
    July 24, 2015 5:22pm

    There are lots of very similar clafoutis recipes. I’d never add almond extract and have never seen that before. I learned to make this in the Limousin area where it is from. If I may say so, you still did something ‘off’ as your clafoutis appears cracked indicating it may have been baked for too long. Sprinkling it with confectioner’s sugar is also nice. I’d never pit the cherries – just telling people the cherries have pits. Cherry pits are frequently sold separately as flavoring for baked goods. It’s great with plums in the fall or any other fruit with or without pits. I’d also butter the baking dish…

    • Karen H.
      July 24, 2015 6:56pm

      The recipe David did not like was cracked; the recipe he devised is perfectly baked!

  • July 24, 2015 5:28pm

    I’m sure it’s heretical, but I’ve been making clafoutis all summer using desiccated coconut instead of ground almonds. It’s delicious every time.

    Also, I learned that a clafoutis made using any fruit but cherries is called a flaugnarde.

  • July 24, 2015 5:33pm

    I love cherry clafoutis. It’s one of my favourite dishes, and I love eating it cold straight out of the fridge. I also put my cherries and add in almond extract. It gives it such a wonderful flavour.

  • July 24, 2015 5:37pm

    Merci mille fois, David! We had not known about Roger Vergé’s passing. We met him once years ago, and still talk about how incredibly nice and gentle he was. His Entertaining in the French Style is one of my all-time fave cookbooks, and clafoutis one is my fave desserts. Guess what I’m making for dessert tonight?

  • Linda Reynolds
    July 24, 2015 5:45pm

    Oh, you darling boy you! Thank you a million times for taking me back to those days of “Nouvelle Cuisine”…back when newspapers carried “news” about writers, artists and yes, chefs! and the “new” food, which we realized the French were eating all the time. Those were the defining years, chefs and food that I was honed on and besides reading all of MFK Fisher’s books, just for her stories, I learned to cook by copying what these wonderfully inspiring cooks were doing. THANK YOU!! David deja vu!

    • Zoe
      July 25, 2015 5:53am

      Great to see another MFK Fisher fan- I adore her!

  • Judy
    July 24, 2015 5:51pm

    My first clafouti experience: I was visiting San Francisco, and spent the day on Mount Tam. We didn’t realize it was getting dark until too late, then we raced to avoid having to climb in the dark. By the time we reached the car my throat was raw (I was getting sick) and I couldn’t talk. My friend took me home and made Julia Child’s cherry clafouti for me (Mastering the Art Vol I). I had never heard of a clafouti before (it was 1976) but I thought it was heaven sliding down my throat. It is an absolutely Proustian comfort food for me linked to love of SF and France.

  • Laura
    July 24, 2015 6:03pm

    Thank you for this timely post – I have been rummaging around my cookbooks for a cherry clafoutis recipe and finally found one in your book The Sweet Life in Paris for an apricot and raspberry clafoutis. Now I have an official cherry recipe.

  • July 24, 2015 6:18pm

    I am so glad you state that keeeping the pits in doesn’t add to the taste. You won’t believe how many heated discussions (not to say arguments) I have had with my French cooking friends about this….

  • Joan Melner
    July 24, 2015 6:36pm

    Hi David, Can’t wait to try this timely recipe as I am a cherry fanatic. Had the wonderful experience of living in Geneva and loved the Swiss/French lifestyle. Am reading your book “The Sweet Life in Paris” and am excited to try a number of the recipes in there, as well. Thanks for sharing!

  • Andrew
    July 24, 2015 6:50pm

    I only have sour cherries! How much sugar should I add to counter the sour? (Btw, I made a clafoutis years ago and it was dense, dense, dense)
    I also like that the picture you posted was an all guy one!

  • July 24, 2015 7:13pm

    Wow – this looks amazing. I love the photos. I can’t wait to buy some cherries and get cooking!! Yummy

  • July 24, 2015 7:17pm

    As a fellow ex-pat, whose experience with French cooking is mostly limited to clafoutis (out of pur love of the dish), I really appreciate your blog and thoroughly enjoyed reading this article.

    An abundance of stone fruit makes me love summer in France even more, as it practically calls for baking. I look forward to having good plums at the market, as they make a fine alternative to cherries for clafoutis (the best I have ever made used some incredible Reine Claudes.)

    I normally swear by a(n almond-less) recipe that I found online, attributed to Julia Child. However your use of almond extract has made me curious…

    I am in the camp of pitting, even if my favorite neighbor (with whom I swap portions of anything we bake) disagrees. I attribute her opinion to not only the question of flavor, but also to the fact that if you use small cherries (I could have broken a tooth on one of the blueberry-sized ones in her last clafoutis), there would be a lot of loss in removing the pits. As a child of the war, she considers it wasteful.

  • Lis
    July 24, 2015 7:25pm

    Could you approximate the amount of pitted cherries in cups, as I don’t have a scale? I came across some organic cherries and bought all they had which wasn’t too much. I haven’t found a pie recipe that appeals to me and this looks perfectly yummy and simple. Thank you!

  • Nina
    July 24, 2015 7:33pm

    Would it be possible to use almond milk in this recipe instead of milk?

    • Nina
      July 24, 2015 7:35pm

      I was also thinking about using coconut milk because it is richer. I am lactose intolerant.

      • July 24, 2015 7:46pm
        David Lebovitz

        Nina: I haven’t tried it with almond or coconut milk so can’t say. You could make it with lactose-free milk, if you’re in the U.S., as I know it’s available there.

        Andrew: I haven’t tried it with sour cherries so can’t say. Perhaps a few more tablespoons would be my best guess.

        Cuisinedeprovince: It’s one of those things that people talk about, but I don’t see how it’s possible for the flavor of the noyau/kernel could penetrate that tough shell. I add a few drops of almond extract, which gives just a touch of bitter almond flavor.

        Lis: It’s perhaps about 4 cups, but whatever is enough to cover the bottom of the 2qt baking dish is about right.

        • Nina
          July 24, 2015 10:17pm

          I made it with almond milk and it came out great!

          • tunie
            July 25, 2015 12:36am

            Seems to me that the whole ‘to pit or not to pit’ confusion is alleviated by just tossing in a couple of shelled noyeux. Easy enough to get with the hammer and dishtowel ‘technique’, haha. Aside from convenience, that’s the point of the pits anyway so why not just cut to the chase?

            PS: coconut milk, esp. the Silk brand (unsweetened var.) works great.

  • Maggie
    July 24, 2015 8:01pm

    In the late 90’s we moved to Northern CA where Farmers Markets are a daily affair. I discovered calfoutis and made many, using whatever fruit was especially delectable at the FM. My daughter and friend came to visit and prepared a special meal for us. For my chocoholic husband, they concocted a dark chocolate, peanut butter clafoutis that was surprisingly quite good. Flaugnarde, clafoutis – a portal for great discoveries. They are also the perfect dessert for grandchildren to prepare – simple and rewarding. Thanks for reviving the memories and the incentive to revisit clafoutis.

  • July 24, 2015 8:07pm

    David, can this recipe be made with Lactaid Ultra (lactose free) milk?

  • Mike
    July 24, 2015 8:28pm

    Perfect timing – I overbought fresh cherries this week and can’t eat them fast enough. Now, however…! Merci, David.

  • Hope Anderson
    July 24, 2015 8:48pm

    Thanks for this timely recipe, which brings me back to the first cherry clafoutis I ever ate–at a hotel called Les Acases in Cannes. I’m with you on the lighter batter and pitted cherries. Alice Waters’ recipe uses unpitted ones, but who wants to see guests spitting pits into a dish during dessert?

  • Hope Anderson
    July 24, 2015 8:51pm

    Sorry, I meant Les Acacias

  • Bonnie from Colorado
    July 24, 2015 9:56pm

    We visited Vergé’s Moulin way back in 1983. Roger was in his prime! We bought the book which he autographed and I have used it ever since. My favorite is his Mouginoise Salad (p.303)—not only beautiful to look, it also brings a flood of Provence to the palate. I found a typo in the original book and notified Roger and actually received a personal note from him thanking me for the diligence. I miss him terribly…

  • Victoria
    July 24, 2015 10:56pm

    Lynn, could you please follow up about your measurements for almond meal. David, could bings that I froze be used for this?

    Many thanks. Love this!

    • July 30, 2015 5:34pm

      Hi Adriana, I can’t include links here, but I tried two recipes that just use almond flour, so it depends if you want it more custard-y or more biscuit-y. If you click on my name, you’ll be brought to my clafoutis recipe, and at the bottom are links to two recipes, one by Guy Savoy and one by Christophe Michalak. (or alternatively google those names + clafoutis) The one by Michalak is more biscuit-y, but both are good. Good luck!

  • Ann B.
    July 24, 2015 11:06pm

    David, have you had a look at the most recent Cooks Illustrated, July/August. They claim that there is a difference in flavour between pitted and not pitted cherries. Their answer is a bit of cinnamon as it shares a compound also found in the cherry pits.

  • July 24, 2015 11:18pm

    great video! couldn’t help but gawk at his beautiful vintage cherry pitter (which i also have, though in much less pristine condition, from marche d’aligre) and lovely mixing bowls. also, his sous looks kinda like terry richardson, hehe

    vintage cookbooks are such a delight. i’ve been playing around with recipes from the Southern Junior League Cookbook and it’s so much fun!

    i do have to say i’ve been making a great clafoutis off of your far breton recipe, with cherries and strawberries instead of the soaked prunes. comes out so velvety and creamy it’s almost impossible to resist chomping down leftovers for breakfast

  • Marguerite
    July 24, 2015 11:22pm

    Whenever I serve anything with pitted cherries I always issue a verbal disclaimer, “Warning: cherries have pits.” No matter how careful, one or two invariably sneak through.

  • July 24, 2015 11:34pm

    David, thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. I had large a jar of beautiful German cherries that I had opened because I needed a small amount of them so I used them in this recipe and it came out so good. Thank you – waste not want not! I am eager to try this again with fresh fruit but I also have another jar of the cherries and will not hesitate to use them in this recipe. Such a simple and quick recipe with such a great outcome. Thank you again. Joy

  • Carol
    July 25, 2015 12:04am

    I have not looked at this beautiful book in a long time…thanks for reminding me. I jumped up and looked for it as soon as I read your email this morning. Bought some cherries today so I’ll make your recipe for company tomorrow night. Think I’ll make the salad recommended by Bonnie from Colorado also.

  • Joan Y
    July 25, 2015 1:02am

    I noticed in the video, Mr Vergé neglects to mention the addition of the milk and the créme fleurette. No doubt the editors fault.

    As others have said, I had an unhappy experience with a cherry clafoutis many years ago. But you’ve made me want to give it another chance!

    A few years ago when I worked as a pastry cook, we never used a cherry pitter because it seemed to require extra time. We found just by digging your thumbnail into the cherry a squeezing it, the pits popped out. Saved a lot of time when we have cases and cases to pit!

    Thanks David! I love your blog.

    • July 25, 2015 1:57am
      David Lebovitz

      The cooks at Fouquet, a candy shop in Paris use a cork with a paperclip bent into a claw, stuck into it, to pit cherries. I used to use a German pitter, similar to the one shown, but switched to this Oxo one because of the “splatter-guard” transparent tube around the pitter, which keeps things cleaner.

    • JoanY
      July 25, 2015 3:12am

      Ahhh, splatter guard! What a great idea. After pitting a couple cases of cherries, my chef’s coat looked like someone had been murdered.

  • Pam
    July 25, 2015 3:14am

    Of course you must put and double check the cherries excellent call.

    I have an extended collection of ‘aged cookbooks’ just like this one.
    I view it like an old movie; the photos the settings, the recipes all bring me back. I agree the pottery in this one!

    The common theme is enjoying life

    • Pam
      July 25, 2015 3:17am

      Oops meant to say pitted cherries!

  • Miranda
    July 25, 2015 3:53am

    I assume you could just do this by hand rather than in a blender? I don’t have one. I do have strong arms though.

    Any reason this needs to be mixed in a blender?

    Looks delicious!

  • Long time reader. First time commenter.
    July 25, 2015 4:27am

    Just wondering if someone here can help me? I am a good cook. However, your chocolate mousse recipe didn’t exactly turn out for me. Did I do something wrong. Followed recipe exactly and there was a little oil from the butter kind of separated on top of mousse after pouring it into the molds. I did everything by hand, as I do not have a mixer. Everything else I make by hand turns out. I didn’t include the alcohol or the coffee. Also, it is very cold where I am at the moment.

  • Kathryn
    July 25, 2015 11:12am

    Thanks for your recipe – I look forward to trying it! I learned to make Clafouti from a provencal beekeeper. She drizzles honey over the top instead of sugar. It’s a great addition. She leaves the pits in, and the guests competed to see who had the most pits on their plate at the end.

  • Kiki
    July 25, 2015 12:31pm

    I made clafoutis for the first time this summer and was a little disappointed in the recipe which came out a little rubbery. I’ve been looking for a another recipe to try — thanks David! My grandmother was from Alscase and she had a cherry recipe that was more cake like — I’ve always wondered if it was from Alscase.

  • July 25, 2015 3:50pm

    David, I’ve been wanting to make clafoutis for years, as my Frenchman’s mother makes it every once in a while. I also want to know how to make pear-almond tart and tarte aux myrtilles amandine.

    I really love the personal stories you share.

    I’ll have to try your recipe! Thanks for creating it for us.

    And I’d be honored if you visited my blog. I’ve been blogging from Grenoble since 2011.

    Take care!

  • Francoise
    July 25, 2015 3:51pm

    Clafoutis is one of my favourites! I am lucky that we had a cherry tree when I was growing up so this was a regular treat for us. We’ve always used Françoise Bernard’s recipe which I like. Hers is a more basic version I would say as it does not include vanilla or almond extract. We usually add some vanilla sugar or maybe a dash of vanilla essence in ours though. We also always leave the pits in. I have tried Clafoutis with the cherries pitted but the taste is different and I find that the cherries lose some of their flavour that way.
    In respect of “flavourings”, I recently got to taste a different at a friend’s barbecue and they had used cloves in their clafoutis!
    Experimented with an apricot version the other week too as we had some in the garden that needed rescuing from wasps and that was nice too especially when using a dash of rum in the batter ;)

  • July 25, 2015 3:51pm

    (oops I didn’t link my website. It’s Grenobloise.com)

  • marcia
    July 25, 2015 4:56pm

    I have a wonderful collection of cookbooks and this is one of my all time favorite classic ! I am listening to your Sweet Life and thought how sad it was for you to loose your treasured books! I am reinspired by your post and have to go back to 1986, to a more romantic time. Thank you and thank you for the video of a very classy Chef.

  • July 25, 2015 5:25pm
    David Lebovitz

    grenobloise: Thanks. Check out my French Pear and Almond Tart, which may be what you’re looking for.

    Kiki: Clafoutis is usually a bit dense, and can be described as rubbery because of the flour. That’s the nature of the dessert.

    marcia: Fortunately a lot of great books can be found used, such as this one.

  • Trevor
    July 25, 2015 7:17pm

    The recipe I use – from one of the first ever French cookbooks I bought, back in ’81 – uses only the egg yolks in the batter, so you need a bit more milk. The egg whites get beaten until stiff with a bit of sugar and then folded in, as for a runny soufflé. Comes out very light and airy.

    Me, I love it with cherries, but our kids always preferred it with apricots; what can I say?

  • Michael Regier
    July 25, 2015 7:21pm

    David, you never fail to inspire. I was compelled after reading this to buy fresh cherries AND a cherry pitter and will be making this tomorrow morning so that we can enjoy it as dessert after Sunday dinner. Absolutely perfect since the cherries are in season and simply gorgeous this year. Merci!

  • July 25, 2015 7:31pm

    Your post made me very nostalgic for the old days, the old ways. I used to take guests to Verge’s cooking school in Mougins- he often came to join us for a glass at the end. Now I’m trying to dig out an old photo of him with me and Nathalie Waag about 20 years ago!
    Clafoutis – yes to your recipe except I use almond flour and a dash of kirsch.

  • Claire
    July 25, 2015 8:50pm

    My batter seemed runny. Is this normal? Also used 2Q baking pan but could not get cherries in a single layer.

    • July 25, 2015 9:01pm
      David Lebovitz

      The batter should be runny since it’s based on a crêpe batter, which is pourable (with a texture similar to a melted milkshake) – it’s okay if some of the cherries are piled on each other as they’ll float when the batter is added.

      • Claire
        July 25, 2015 9:09pm

        David, thank you for the quick reply! Sounds like everything should be fine. Mine is in the oven now, due out in about 15 minutes, and boy does it smell good! You’re wonderful :)

  • Denise
    July 26, 2015 7:07am

    Hi David…beautiful recipe and it seems to be easy to make. Also the pictures are lovely as always in your posts. Greetings from Brasil.

  • Irene
    July 26, 2015 2:59pm

    i stopped by the Moulin in 1976 and bought his pickled cherries. The taste memory is with me still! I wonder if they might have made a better clafoutis? In Australia we make them with sour cherries, which beat sweet cherries in depth of flavor in anything cooked or baked. We pick them in the height of summer (January) and start with cold cherry soup after a night of pitting.

  • Jeanne
    July 26, 2015 3:00pm

    I’ve always had good luck with Julia Child’s recipie for clafoutis.
    I also found Verge’s book on Amazon.fr for €4.95, a used hardback.

  • LisaWordbird
    July 26, 2015 3:57pm

    Thank you SO much, David! You’ve just sent me back in time to when I was a kid having lunches on the terrasse with family in France in the 80s. My Uncle Pierre had a fabulous bushy moustache and a wonderful joke about ‘going fishing’, as he kept the wine cool in a large pond in the garden. It wasn’t a famous restaurant, but I couldn’t have had more fun.

    I decided to try making a Clafoutis using little Mirabelle plums and it was delicious. I’d recommend that as a possibility if you come across any of those golden beauties and can resist eating them all before you get them home. (Always a struggle, that.) x

  • Ron Shapley
    July 26, 2015 8:13pm

    Wow Dave…I got a used copy for $ 10 at Strand Bookstore… Like yours, it’s a beautiful volumn. Thanks for the lead !!

  • Linda L.
    July 26, 2015 11:47pm

    If it’s any consolation for missing the meal in the second photo, there are, in fact, no empty places at the table. There are six diners and six plates – they have just pushed their chairs together so they will all be facing the camera.
    It is an amazing cookbook and that’s not the only photo I wish I could enter the book to be part of. How lucky you were to have the opportunity to meet him!
    Now I am off to start the clafoutis.

  • Lynn Wainess
    July 27, 2015 2:07am

    This recipe is fantastic. Easy, low carb (for a dessert) and so delicious.
    Three of us polished off almost the entire pan (and the night is young). We used a chop stick to pit the cherries and it worked great :-)
    Thanks David!

    • Anne Epstein
      July 31, 2015 12:02am

      Several days ago, I posted a suggestion — but I gather that no one saw it — to pit cherries with 1/2 plastic drinking straw. Place cherry stem side down on firm surface and plunge the straw through the cherry. Pull the straw out and the pit can be squeezed out of the straw end. Repeat.

  • Rosedale
    July 27, 2015 3:11am

    Thanks for a lower calorie coked fruit dessert (no butter) I’ve been craving cooked fruit dessert, but cutting calories. Made it with apricots and blackberries. So easy with the immersion blender. Got a break from the heat wave for a day so in the oven it went. Amazing – used orange flower water instead of almond extract. Love summertime!

  • Oonagh
    July 27, 2015 4:51am

    I’ve tried clafoutis several times and I don’t get why people rave about it, it just seems stodgy to me. Maybe I’ll give it another go.

    • Oonagh
      August 3, 2015 5:09am

      OK, I pitted the cherries with a tweezer until my right thumb hurt and I looked like a cherry killer, then baked this up.
      It was by far the nicest clafoutis I’ve tried, but I’ve concluded that, as desserts go, this isn’t for me. But thank you David, at least I now understand what the fuss is about.

  • lk - san francisco
    July 27, 2015 6:54am

    david – we found your version in favor of others as more custard like than
    cake like…increased vanilla extract to 1-1/4 tsp…added 1/4 cup of almond meal on top with extra tablespoon of sugar (note- used organic sugar which is larger grained for entire recipe)…baked in 10″ cast iron pan…delicious…took 55 minutes to finish.
    (note: our cherries were huge and
    would increase the batter mixture next round by 1/4%. due to limited
    supplies, we used 2/3 cream with 1/3
    water.
    thanks again david for your inspiration.

  • mihaela
    July 27, 2015 2:44pm

    This reminds me of the ‘cherry cake’ my mother was baking in my childhood, in Romania. Similar recipe – she would also remove the pits and keep it in the frigde overnight – and it looked just like the clafoutis in your 2nd photo. You took me back to 20 years ago… thanks.
    Ah, la Madeleine :)

  • July 27, 2015 5:29pm

    I just made my 2nd batch of your cherry jam, it being cherry season in NYC. I take as many cherries as I can bear to pit (no pitter, just a paper clip!) and then freeze some and jam the rest. Heaven.
    Can’t wait to try this with sour cherries. Thanks for doing the heavy lifting on the recipe.

  • ron shapley
    July 27, 2015 10:35pm

    I always follow Julia’s recipe………..Perfect and delicious…..

  • Vicky
    July 28, 2015 4:36pm

    Am pondering trying this recipe before the end of cherry season (my husband has a longstanding aversion to clafoutis – sigh)…but in the meantime, I have a batch of your Roasted Strawberry-Miso ice cream hardening in my freezer, and it is absolutely delicious!

  • Katharina Wilson
    July 28, 2015 6:11pm

    Please try a version with pitted cherries. It is not the pit giving additional taste to the clafouti, but if you leave the pits in, the cherry remains intact and much less of the juices run out too early and soak into the clafoutis batter prematurely leaving a soggy mess. The texture of your whole result is going to be better! I promise.

  • July 29, 2015 10:38am

    Hi David (et al),
    regarding the book, do you know whether the new release is just a plain new release or have changes on the original one?

    Many thanks in advance and regards,

    Jose

    • July 29, 2015 2:45pm
      David Lebovitz

      I don’t know whether it is or not. One online review of the newer edition said it was “abbreviated” so not sure if that’s correct or what that means, however.

      • July 29, 2015 3:16pm

        Hi David,
        thanks a lot for the info. I’ll try to find the old version then.

        Kind regards,

        Jose

  • July 29, 2015 4:13pm

    David, thank you so much for always providing us with such charming, refreshing stories of the country I love so much. I love almost every single one of your stories and I often share it with my French roommates. Together, we laugh at the differences between American and French cultures.

    I too love reconnecting with dated cookbooks. Lately, I’ve been translating Italian cookbooks and it’s amazing how much they love chicken liver! It’s become a regular in my house. Luckily, my Frenchies have no problem eating that either!

  • July 29, 2015 5:21pm

    Clafoutis was one of the first desserts I learned to make and it brings so many happy memories! Looking forward to trying your recipe :)

  • DelectableDeVita
    July 30, 2015 5:38am

    Recently stumbled upon this website during a google search for cherry desserts and I must admit that I am elated with reading through each and every post. I tried the clafoutis this week for an impromptu dinner party and it was a huge hit! David thank you for the inspiration and the entertaining stories!! So glad I subscribed and looking forward to more inspiring posts! Thanks again.

  • Joanna
    August 2, 2015 2:46am

    I followed your directions to the letter…weighed everything you had weights for…and over an hour in the oven at 375 it is still like soup . It’s bubbling around the edges and the cherries have floated to the top, but I’m not getting anything like custard now. I’m giving it another 20 minutes, bringing total cooking time to almost 2 hours, and then giving up. It well could be my 10 month old oven, I suppose, but the manual says not to use a thermometer in the oven because when the door is opened the reading can change. I am depressed….this is the very first recipe of yours I’ve made that is just not working :-(

    • August 2, 2015 2:15pm
      David Lebovitz

      It’s a classic recipe and the proportions I’ve used are close to the classic, with some minor modifications. (My friend Elise at Simply Recipes has a similar cherry clafoutis recipe with similar proportions, as does Serious Eats.) So I suspect it is your oven perhaps.

      • Joanna
        August 4, 2015 6:11am

        KitchenAid is sending someone out early next week. I’ll give this recipe another try. I love your books and everything has always worked, so I’m pretty sure it’s the oven!

  • Rachel
    August 6, 2015 12:44am

    I’ve made this three times since you published the recipe. Really delicious! The last two times I added 3 tbsp ground almonds, adds a little je ne sais quoi.
    Thank you for another excellent recipe David.

  • August 6, 2015 4:35pm

    This looks fantastic. Can’t wait to try out this awesome recipe.

  • Roy G
    August 9, 2015 4:20pm

    I made this for desert two nights ago. Living in northern Michigan surrounded by cherry orchards it was a fitting end to a barbecue party. Like all the recipes of yours that I have tried, it was a hit! I feel lucky to have access to your works. Thank you.

  • Margie C.
    August 15, 2015 12:33am

    There is a cherry clafoutis recipe in Michael Roberts’s _Parisian Home Cooking: Conversations, Recipes, and Tips from the Cooks and Food Merchants of Paris_ (1999). He uses all-purpose flour, heavy cream, kirsch, and unpitted cherries. I have used Martha Rose Shulman’s Cherry and Apricot Clafoutis recipe (NYT 6/25/13) with great success, and she uses half all-purpose flour, half almond flour and pits the fruit. And now I can see I need to hit the grocery store for supplies…

  • Flavia
    August 17, 2015 12:09am

    Of course I’ll not find locally grown cherries in August here in Rome, but I’m happy to see that indeed, it is a simple recipe, and I’ll try as soon as I can!

  • August 18, 2015 2:25pm

    Hi David,
    Thanks this is one of my favorite desserts! Is 570g the weight of the cherries before or after pitting? Thanks

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