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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Clafoutis aux griottes (Sour Cherry Clafoutis)

Oh là là...what is the rendition of clafoutis in English? None, I believe, as clafoutis is clafoutis in any language and it should remain like this since 'translators, [are] traitors".  To my surprise, I have never had clafoutis before. Or have I? I may have mistaken it for cherry pie... *confused* 
I can't remember. The bottom line is that I have recently bought this wonderful gem The Skinny French Kitchen and, as soon as I came back home from my trips to Ireland and France, I rolled off my sleeves and I started putting it to the test. Yes, yes, it has already passed the test on a couple of occasions. :)  (you have to stay tuned, more - soon - on Lemon Love Notes).  
However, in my quest to research it more, I found a more clarifying definition on, which I will copy and paste below. 

"If you mix plenty of unpitted black cherries into what may best be described as a slightly thickened crêpe batter, you will have the makings of a traditional clafoutis limousin—a type of batter cake from the farm country of southern central France. The recipe is old but not ancient, probably dating from around the 1860s. The unusual name (sometimes spelled clafouti) comes from clafir, a dialect word meaning “to fill”. [...] According to Larousse Gastronomique, when the Académie Française defined clafoutis as a “sort of fruit flan”, inhabitants of Limoges—capital of the Limousin region—protested, forcing the institution to change the definition to the more acceptable “cake with black cherries”. Black cherries are the meatiest, juiciest, and sweetest of all cherries—and they’re left unpitted because the pits are thought to enhance the flavor of the batter with a perfume faintly reminiscent of almonds. Whole cherries are also less likely to bleed into the batter. A perfect clafoutis has a deep golden brown crust on both the bottom and the top. And the only way to achieve this is to bake it in a sufficiently hot oven. At too low a temperature, the flour separates from the rest of the batter, settling at the bottom of the pan and leaving a pale custard behind. Though black cherries are the classic addition, clafoutis is made today with all kinds of fruit. In the Auvergne, next door to the Limousin, where clafoutis is known as milliard, it may contain cherries, grapes, red currants, or prunes."

A cross between a pie and a cake, this astounding dessert is endowed with one more quality that I highly appreciate: it is as light as a feather and feels as if it were calorie-free :)

Clafoutis with Sour Cherries

Type of cuisine: French, Cuisine des Terroirs / Low Fat

Preparation time: 10 minutes / Baking time: 30 minutes @ 200 degrees Celsius

Adapted from the (wonderful) The Skinny French Kitchen by Harry Eastwood 

350 gr of stoned cherries (can be frozen)

3 free-range eggs

3 tbs of (brown) sugar

3 tbs of flour

170 ml of (low-fat) 1.5% milk (or approx 3/4 cup of milk)

vanilla extract

a pinch of salt (I used Camargue salt)

a slice of butter (approx 10 gr) to grease the dish

caster sugar (to sprinkle on top)


Preheat the oven @ 240 degrees Celsius

If you use fresh cherries, stone them. If you use frozen cherries from a bag, thaw them and drain the juice. Set aside.

Grease a tin (or an oven-proof dish) with a tiny slice of butter (I use 65% fat butter) and sprinkle some flour. 


Break the eggs, separate the whites and the yolks. In two separate bowls beat the egg whites with 1 tbs of sugar and the yolks with 2 tbs of sugar. Once their consistency becomes fluffy, pour the yolks over the whites, drip the vanilla extract, sprinkle the salt and mix with a silicone spoon. Add 3 tbs of flour and whisk.
Finally pour the milk and mix the batter lightly.

Lay the cherries on the bottom of the tin, then pour the batter over. Put the tin in the middle of the oven. Lower the oven temp and bake for 30 minutes @ 200 degrees C.

sprinkle some caster sugar

As you know, I am not a big dessert person, (apart from my Totally Decadent Raspberry Chocolate Cake with Milk Tapioca Pudding, of course), but in general I have a sweet tooth, especially for low-fat, healthy options. Milk, vanilla, pitted cherries are among my favourite ingredients to use when baking. I have already made clafoutis twice in a week, and I will be a boring as ever as to remake it with seasonal fruit from now on :) This dessert has put me in a mood for more and more French dishes. Like many others, I have  thought that to cook à la française is expensive, complicated, and  fussy, which is totally a wrong assumption. Simple & wholesome, glamourous & stylish, French cuisine is a pleasure to both the eye and the palate. 

Because, we must give it to the French, they do food well. Each Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner is a celebration of life in itself. The fact that the French take their food seriously is reflected in the poetry of simple gestures made with such ease: buying the daily baguette, a chef putting together the menu du jour in a tiny restaurant/bistrot, sipping an espresso in a street cafe, going to the Sunday local market, eating out in a fancy restaurant, or just having a meal comme il faut: enjoying it to the last morsel with no rush (and no regrets) :)

Le souper tue la moitié de Paris, le dîner l'autre.  Montesquieu, Charles de Secondat. 

Dinner kills one half of Paris, and supper the other.  Montesquieu, Charles de Secondat. 

The photos below are a selection from the work of my favourite photographer, Robert Doisneau who once said that...

“The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.”

source: Atelier Robert Doisneau
source: Atelier Robert Doisneau
source: Atelier Robert Doisneau
source: Atelier Robert Doisneau

1 comment:

  1. Ah, ce fotografii minunate! Abia astept ciresele si visinile sa incerc acest clafoutis. Xoxo