sweet cherry clafoutis

by ALLISSA on July 16, 2011

For weeks I’ve been wondering if the summer-time vibe – that breezy, buoyant feeling that arises when the days are long and the flowers are blooming and there’s nothing all that important to do – is passing me by this year. For a lot of reasons, I’ve had trouble getting to that place. I anticipated it all winter and I told myself that life would be easier when the weather turned for the better, but then the spring brought rain and clouds and general heartache and it seemed impossible to look forward to even the best of summer days ahead.

Good thing the coveted warm season is three months long. A few days after life here was truly turned inside-out – more on that someday down the road – I am delighted to say that summer has arrived for our household, in the form of lazy lunches, evening strolls and four feet sun-tanned by flip-flop straps. Yes, things are lighter around here and I can’t tell you how much we’ve needed that.

One of the best things about this past week was the fact that I got to lunch with my husband twice in three days. There is a semi-slow movement of food trucks in our city and we finally tracked down the taco truck on Tuesday. Two days later, we meandered through the week-day farmer’s market, picking up some more lettuce for the patio planter, a bag of kettle corn and – my oh my – a bag of cherries, a mix of Bing and Rainier goodness that screams, “Summer starts now!” I could hardly stand to let them be. (So I snuck a few while thinking about what to do with them.)

Sweet Cherry Clafoutis Batter

Pitted Cherries with Sugar and Lemon Juice

Clafoutis Batter Over Pitted Cherries

Somehow I found my way to Williams-Sonoma’s recipe for cherry clafoutis. Um, what? Yeah, clafoutis, as in kla-foo-TEE. It’s a French dish that combines cherries, preferably with pits intact, and a pancake-like batter of eggs, sugar, flour and heavy cream. The cherries are placed in the bottom of a baking pan, covered by the batter, then baked for half an hour or so. Some recipes call for sprinkling sugar over the cake; others suggest ice cream or whipped cream. I went with confectioners’ sugar and whipped cream. (Yes, that’s a lot of sugar.)

I followed the Williams-Sonoma recipe closely, simply because this dish is new to me. I’d read that pitting the cherries is the most tedious part of this recipe and it’s true. I sliced the cherries in half and dug out the middle with my fingers. A cherry pitter gadget would have made a huge difference.

Sure, my thumb is fuschia-stained, but this little dish, I’m sure, will become a staple in my house and a good use for all of that summertime fruit I’m bound to buy at the farmer’s market.

Now, if you’ll excuse me for a few days, I’m going back to my summer, fleeting as it is, feeling light and lucent and loved.

Sweet Cherry Clafoutis

Sweet Cherry Clafoutis

(adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen)


  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cups of sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1  1/2 pounds of fresh cherries (Note: Traditionalists will leave the pits in the cherries while baking, but I removed them because I have visitors coming to the house and I don’t feel like watching everyone spit pits during meals. Say that five times fast.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Butter a large square baking dish or a deep pie dish.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and 1/3 cup of sugar and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for several minutes.
  4. Add flour, vanilla and heavy cream and beat again, this time on low speed until the batter is completely blended.
  5. In a small bowl, beat egg whites and salt with a whisk for 30 seconds.
  6. Add egg-white mixture to the large bowl and beat on low speed for two minutes.
  7. Place buttered baking dish in the oven for five minutes.
  8. In a third bowl, combine cherries, remaining 1/3 cup of sugar and lemon juice.
  9. Remove baking pan from the oven and pour the cherries into the pan. Pour the batter over the cherries.
  10. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until clafoutis is firm in the middle. I would up baking my clafoutis for roughly 45 minutes, as the middle didn’t seem firm after 35 minutes.
  11. Serve lukewarm, preferably, with sprinkled sugar or with ice cream or whipped cream. Or eat it straight up, hot and gooey, and forget about saving any for anyone else.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: