Clafouti is a baked fruit custard. It is a French dish that (I feel) was invented by particularly unfussy and homey French people. I love clafouti because it reminds me of a delicious custardy apple cake that my Estonian grandmother used make. She would slice and layer apples into a baking pan and then pour a very eggy pancake batter over it and bake it. It was amazing. You can find my recipe for gluten-free apple clafouti here. Clafouti can be made with any sort of fruit (apricots are very good!) I am under the impression though, that cherries and plums are the most traditional and Cherries are in season right now. If you have plums, I suggest half drying them and using armagnac instead of kirsh. Here is a link to instructions for making Mi-cuit plums for Clafouti.
My favourite Clafouti recipe was from an old issue of Saveur Magazine. I learned from this article that Clafouti was traditionally made with unpitted cherries. The trace amounts of cyanide found in the stones of fruit such as cherries infuse the batter with a delicious almond flavour! It’s just magical when laziness can produce flavour! Unfourtunately my fiancé does not like it when I leave the pits in the cherries, so I now just pit them add a bit of almond extract. Most modern clafouti recipes pit the cherries and do not bother with the almond extract at all. I encourage you to try the traditional, lazy, magical method (or at least add some almond extract)!
Clafouti does not have much flour compared to milk and eggs to begin with and for my gluten-free version I have adapted it by using almond meal and millet flour instead of wheat flour. I believe that other flours would also work well but the almond meal is a natural choice because it also adds some cyanide flavour. You should buy the very finely ground almond meal from the store rather than grinding it yourself for this recipe. Clafouti calls for very little sugar and I have noticed that many people use honey, agave, brown sugar or unprocessed sugar in their recipes. Not many baked goods can deal with sugar substitutes but appearantly clafouti can! This recipe calls for Kirsch, a lovely, clear cherry brandy. Other yummy liquers or brandies could probably be used as a substitute.
GLUTEN-FREE CHERRY CLAFOUTI
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- I Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon almond extract (skip it if you are not pitting your cherries)
- 6 eggs
- 6 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 and ¼ cup milk
- 2 Tablespoons Kirsch
- a pinch of salt
- ½ cup finely ground almond meal
- ¼ cup millet flour
- 3 cups fresh cherries (pitted or not)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Put the butter in a 9 inch oven proof skillet (preferably cast iron) and place it in the heating oven to melt.
- Blend the eggs, sugar, milk, kirsch, extracts and salt together.
- Add the flour and blend until entirely smooth (you can use a blender if you like).
- Tip the butter around in the heated skillet to coat all sides of the pan.
- Pour the extra melted butter into the batter and stir to combine.
- Pour the batter into the buttered hot skillet.
- Sprinkle the cherries into the skillet.
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the clafouti puffs up and turns golden on top.
- Serve the clafouti right away for full visual effect, or eat it later at room temperature or from the fridge. It will be fallen but it will still be good!