Clafou-what? I know. I’ll get to that. Bear with me a short moment if you can. I fell in love with clafoutis (klow-foo-Tee) when the wide world of food celebrated Julia Child’s 100th birthday. The celebration was hard to miss and even harder to escape.
Every food media outlet, blogger and French restaurant this side of the pond was cooking or baking in the name of Julia. So I joined in, and tweaked away at her wonderful eat-any-time-of-day, fruit-laden clafoutis.
The cleverness of clafoutis
So what is it? Think flan meets bread pudding, they fall in love and bake up beautiful delicious children. A slightly sweet, luscious egg custard with loads of tart, juicy fruit. Orange blossom honey instead of sugar lends a hint of floral and summer, and a little bit of a real food feel.
The mise en place (French chef speak for everything in place) for this dessert is also REALLY quick and easy.
Stealing Mrs. Child’s trick of the trade
The reason I’m dragging Julia into this one is she had the perfect trick for keeping all those lovely blueberries (or cherries or raspberries) from falling to the bottom of the dish during baking. The process is two fold. But totally worth it if you love custard and fruit and the act of sifting cuploads of confectioner’s sugar on your sweet endings.
Keeping the fruit from sinking
If you first bake a thin layer of the batter in the dish before adding the berries and remaining batter, you create a sturdy bottom to hold the berries up high and mighty.
Once the thin skin forms and the edges thicken, leave the dish on the oven rack, but slide it out. Then you can add the remaining batter and berries without risking an emergency room trip for third-degree burns.
Side Note. Do as I say, not as I do. I don’t get great light by my oven, and wanted to have a well-lit photo.
Sprinkle the berries evenly in the dish, then pour the remaining batter in a circular motion to evenly distribute. Slide her back in and bake until until she sets. It’s an easy step to showcase beautiful fruit, and makes an extremely simple dessert a stand out.
Gluten or grain-free clafoutis
Since the initial publishing of this post, I’ve tested this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour. I added a little bit of xanthan gum for surety, but you could probably do without.
If you want to go grain-free, Bob’s Red Mill makes a paleo-style flour. I’ve never tried it, but don’t see why it wouldn’t work nearly as well. The ratio of eggs to liquid in the recipe is enough to set a custard. The starch is really a supporting actor, as the eggs will create a sturdy bake when they coagulate in the high heat (#bakingisscience).
No matter which way you slice it, clafoutis is a custard to be celebrated any day of the year, along with Julia (Mrs. Childs, if you’re tasty). If not for the inescapable, out of control birthday fanfare, for the perfectly great reason to rain down a pound of confectioner’s sugar on fruit custard.Print
Classic clafoutis is thickened with wheat flour, and if Julia was still with us she’d most likely scoff at using gluten-free flours… but I’ve never had any complaints with either version. Both bake up creamy, silky and bursting with tart fruit!
- 3/4 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup honey, orange blossom recommended
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup flour, all-purpose or gluten free*
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease or spray an 8-inch pie plate or round cake pan with avocado or coconut oil, and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
- In a blender, blend all ingredients except granulated sugar and blueberries.
- Pour a 1/4-inch layer of batter into pie plate, and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, just until a skin forms. Toss blueberries with sugar while first layer sets.
- Once a skin begins to form, add blueberries and then remaining custard batter to pan.
- Bake until top is golden brown and custard is set (moves cohesively when jiggled) about an hour. Begin checking after 45 minutes for safety. The longer you bake clafoutis, the more prone it will be to excessive cracking (more aesthetics/texture than a factor in taste).
- Clafoutis is classically served warm, but cool completely before sliding the whole clafoutis from the pie plate or pan.
- Store chilled, reheat gently until warm to serve.
If using a gluten-free flour without xanthan gum, whisk 1/8 teaspoon (a good pinch) into the flour before blending the batter.
Keywords: clafoutis, Julia Child clafoutis, custard desserts, blueberry recipes, gluten-free desserts, French desserts