Top | The All-New, All-Purpose Joy of Cooking

Almost Classic Cherry Clafouti

(recipe, Ethan Becker, Marion Rombauer Becker, Irma S. Rombauer)

primary-image, l


This custardlike dessert comes from the Limousin region of France. Classically made with unstoned black cherries, on the theory that the cherry pits add flavor to the cake, this version is called "almost classic" because you have the option of using pitted cherries, a blessing to the unsuspecting. The mixture for a clafouti resembles a thick pancake or crêpe batter and for this reason, according to Larousse Gastronomique, the Academie Française defined the clafouti as a "sort of fruit flan." Under protests from residents of the Limousin, the definition was changed to a "cake with black cherries," even though other types of cherries — and even other fruits — are often used.


  1. Butter for greasing the pan
  2. 1 lb. sweet cherries, pitted or not (frozen cherries, thawed and patted dry, or canned cherries, drained and dried, can be used)
  3. 4 large eggs
  4. ¾ cup sugar
  5. 1 cup whole milk
  6. 1 Tbsp. Cognac or rum (untraditional, but good with the custard; see Note)
  7. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  8. ¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  9. Pinch of salt
  10. Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10-inch deep-dish pie pan (see Note). Distribute the cherries over the bottom of the pan.
  2. Beat the eggs and sugar until frothy, about 2 minutes. And the milk, alcohol, and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Stir in the flour and salt. Pour the batter over the cherries and place the pie pan on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake the clafouti for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until the top has puffed (it will sink on cooling) and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes more. Transfer to a rack and cool for about 20 minutes.
  4. Dust with the powdered sugar, if using, and serve sliced into wedges.


Culinate editor's notes: You can use kirschwasser or even an orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier, in place of the Cognac or rum. If you like, let the pitted cherries macerate in the alcohol while you mix the rest of the ingredients. Use a whisk — or, better yet, a blender — to avoid flour lumps in the batter. If you don't have a 10-inch pie pan, a 9-inch pie pan will work just fine, so long as you give the clafouti a few extra minutes to cook. Alternatively, treat the dessert like a Dutch baby and use a large ovenproof skillet (such as a cast-iron skillet) as the cooking vessel. This clafouti, with its careful balance between firm and moist, is essentially the kind you're likely to find in French patisseries. For a jigglier, more custardy clafouti, make Blueberry Clafoutis. And for a drier, firmer clafouti, try Anthony Bourdain's Clafoutis.