Raspberry Clafouti

There are few things that could get me to turn on the oven in the middle of this oppressive heat wave.  However, much to the dismay of my panting dog, clafouti is one of them.

Unlike almost everyone else in the country right now, the red and golden raspberries in our garden are adoring the heat.  They have just started to really take off, offering up several pints a week.  (That is, those that aren't stolen when I'm not looking, right off the thorny branches, by aforementioned panting dog).

Clafouti ("klau-foo-tee") is a both rustic and elegant dessert, with a ridiculously fun to say name, that originated in the Limousin region in the southwest of France.  It was traditionally made with cherries, as they had an abundance they had to figure out what to do with each summer, poor things.  I learned of it from my well-loved, dog-eared copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and was in love from the start.  Further investigation revealed that when made with any other fruit other than the traditional cherries, it is actually not called Clafouti, but "Flaugnarde".  Are you kidding me?  I feel like those rogue Limousinians just came up with the most clumsy sounding word they could to shame the rest of the world into strict adherence to their recipe.  My fancy, summer, whatever-berry-filled french dessert will be called clafouti, so there.

With this dish having been around and around for a few hundred years, there are countless variations out there, and it has certainly all been done before.  Below is a recipe that I have come up with after trying many of those variations, that seems to hit the spot for me.  I like the addition of the lemon zest, reminding me a lot of that perfect lemon and sugar crepe you eat while wandering back streets of Paris.  The addition of cream, well, it just makes it a little richer and me a little happier.

Flaugnarde or Clafouti, try this this summer with all of the amazing fruit and berries that are struttin' their stuff at the markets now, and later into the fall as well.


Raspberry Clafouti
by Catie Schwalb

Serves six to eight, as either dessert or brunch

4 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 + 1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
pinch of salt
2/3 cup flour, sifted
3 cups fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a blender, combine eggs, milk, cream, 1/4 cup of sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, salt and flour.

In a 9 or 10 inch flame-proof baking dish or skillet, melt one tablespoon of butter over medium heat, and swirl to evenly coat.

Pour a small amount of batter into the pan to completely cover the bottom surface. Cook gently over medium heat for a few minutes, until batter sets. Remove from heat, evenly distribute berries over the top, sprinkle with remaining 1/4 of sugar (or less if fruit is exceptionally sweet), and top with remaining batter.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, until the clafouti is set, golden brown, slightly puffed, and a cake tester comes out clean.

Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with powdered sugar, topped with whipped cream or creme angalise, or shoved into your mouth while standing over the stove.

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Catie Baumer Schwalb is a chef, food writer and photographer, who splits her life between the city and the country. Not too long ago Catie was a New York City based actress and playwright for more than a decade. She has her Master of Fine Arts from the National Theater Conservatory, and her Grand Diplôme in classic culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York City. ... Read More

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