Simple Almond Cherry Clafoutis is a classic French dessert made with seasonal fresh cherries and basic baking ingredients. Ready in under an hour, this custard-y flan like dessert is fancy cooking with minimal effort.
Cherry season is the very best season there is! As soon as I see the first sweet cherries at the markets, I begin planning out recipes for baking and preserving. Some of my favourites are Easy Amaretto Sour Cherry Jam and Amaretto Cherry Pie. Can you sense a theme here? I love heightening the flavour of cherries with almonds!
Simple Almond Cherry Clafoutis
The BEST recipes are the ones that sound impressive (like you’ve been slaving away in the kitchen all day), look appetizing, and taste unbelievable. Cherry Clafoutis ticks all those boxes.
There’s a reason why this French dessert is regarded as a classic; It’s full of fresh cherry flavour and has an unbelievably comforting egg custard/baked flan-like texture.
I serve it warm with a light dusting of powdered sugar and maybe just a little vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
If you’ve ever made a Dutch oven pancake, you will notice that it is very similar in style and texture to a clafoutis. Both are simple to prepare and highly customizeable. I highly recommend any leftover slices of this clafoutis to be eaten at breakfast!
What is Cherry Clafoutis?
Beyond the incredibly fun to pronounce name (kla-FOO-tee), this easy dessert is a treasured summertime dessert from the Limosin region of France. When fruit is fresh and plenty, the ideal way to finish a meal (beyond a quick digestif) is with a slice of Cherry Clafoutis.
It’s interesting to note that classic Clafoutis recipes contain unpitted cherries. This is because the pits of cherries give the finished dessert just a touch of almond flavouring. Read on to find out why…
Cherry Pits, Almond Essence, and Cyanide
True almond essence (Noyaux) is made by soaking the inner kernels from pits or stones of cherries (or apricots, nectarines, peaches and plums) in neutral spirits. The released chemical compound, Amygdalin, is also present in almonds, giving them the characteristic almond aroma.
Once Amygdalin encounters water (during chewing, digestion, or other ways), it begins to break down and release poisonous hydrogen cyanide gas. Not to worry, though. If you prefer to use unpitted cherries, the tiny amount of cyanide released by the cherries is minute.
For this cherry clafoutis recipe, and for safety’s sake, I have pitted the cherries and added sliced almonds in addition to using almond extract. If you prefer, you can use vanilla extract or add a splash of kirsch for flavouring.
Additionally, if you would like to make your own Noyaux extract, check out this very informative and highly scientific article on Cyanide in Cherries (and how to remove it) HERE.
Ingredients for this Recipe
Though the base of this clafoutis contains common baking essentials such as granulated sugar, all purpose flour and salt, there is a emphasis on fresh milk, cream and butter as is the custom in most French recipes.
- almond extract
- slivered almonds
- powdered or confectioner’s sugar
Though the almond extract is not entirely necessary (substitute with vanilla if you like) it is delicious when paired with cherries. Same with the slivered almonds. They aren’t an ‘original’ cherry clafoutis ingredient but the pairing of flavours is absolutely fantastic.
Any variety of cherry would do well in this recipe, though they range in flavour from very tart sour cherries to sweet dark lapin cherries. Opposite varieties such as these will have an impact on the flavour of the clafoutis as a whole.
How to Make Cherry Clafoutis
With a little practice, you can make Cherry Clafoutis in the time it takes to preheat the oven to 375 F. Prepare the baking dish (cast iron or pie dish) with a layer of butter, then spread a little layer of sugar over the bottom.
Pit the cherries with a cherry pitter and remove the stems. Or, leave the pits in as leaving them whole prevents the juices from leaking (if you mind that sort of thing) Just make sure you tell your friends and family before dessert. Otherwise someone might crack a tooth!
Arrange the cherries on top of the sugar. It really doesn’t matter how many you use but they should all be in a single layer. Pack them as tightly as they’ll go for maximum cherry flavour.
Some recipes call for scalding the cream/milk prior to whipping up the batter. I have tried both methods and didn’t see a difference in the final texture. Simply add all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk them together. The consistency of the batter is similar to that of pancakes.
Next, pour the batter over the cherries and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until done.
How to Tell When Cherry Clafoutis is Cooked
The clafoutis is ready to eat when a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean (try to avoid testing through a cherry!). It should be gloriously puffy and have golden brown edges. Once removed from the oven, don’t panic, it will deflate slightly as it cools.
To serve: Simply dust with powdered sugar or serve with a scoop or ice cream or whipped cream.
Storing and Leftovers
Should you have any leftovers, cover the clafoutis and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Eat the leftovers cold or warm your slice in the microwave for a short amount of time.
Other Clafoutis Variations
Though cherry is THE classic clafoutis flavour, you can make this simple dessert using many types of fruit. Try changing it up with:
- Any stone fruit – apricots, plums, nectarines, or peaches.
- Saskatoon berries
- Haskap or Honey Berries
- Caramelized Bananas
How about a savoury clafoutis? Treat it like a crustless quiche and add:
- Any kind of cheese
- Greens such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, or spinach.
- Fresh herbs
- Summer vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, squash, corn, or green beans.