Cherry clafoutis for a summer dinner in our garden


Candlelitdinner As I mentioned in passing in a previous post, just before the weather turned rainy here in London, we had a weekend of three consecutive braais – one on Friday, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.  Each braai was significantly different – in terms of guests, venue and food, so I thought it would be a good idea to do a post on each and include a recipe from each.  Putting two and two together from the post title and the picture above, you might have guessed that the first braai was a lovely summer evening affair in my garden.  Let me just take a moment to say that I am irrationally fond of my garden.  By South African standards it’s a tiny little rectangle of grass wedged between other rectangles of grass, but at the bottom there is a tree which provides blossoms in spring, shade in summer and colour in autumn.  There are pots of fragrant alyssum, my variegated lavender and my patio rose, not to mention my spectacular dahlia (I believe the variety is called Art Deco!).  And on still summer evenings I can think of few more pleasant places in London.

So it came to pass that on Friday after work my friends Antony and Olwen joined Nick and I for a braai in my beloved garden.  The warm, still weather encouraged us to carry the table outside and dine under the stars, and the picture was taken just as the light faded.  Little sparkly candles, my beloved gold beaded placemats, good friends, good food, good wine – what more could you want?  Nick outdid himself on the braai front and reprised a dish he first made last summer – pork fillet stuffed with pear and sage (soon to be the subject of its own post!), served alongside caprese salad and a sinfully creamy, cheesy potato bake.  But the star of the show (particularly if you ask Antony!!) was the dessert.  Seeing as there is an abundance of gorgeous summer fruit available right now, I wanted to do something fairly light and fruity, so what better option than a cherry clafoutis?

According to the Joy of Baking, a clafoutis (also sometime spelled clafouti is a French country dessert which originated in the Limousin region in Southwest France.  The word comes from the French word clafir which means ‘to fill’  and it is traditionally made with the first sweet cherries of the season which are left unpitted as the kernels are said to add extra flavor while baking.  The batter is rather like a pancake batter (heavy on the sugar and eggs, light on the flour) and results in a baked custard rather than a cakey confection. I knew none of this when I first made a clafoutis about five years ago.  Hell, I didn’t even know how to pronounce the word!!  I think it was the picture that caught my eye first, rather than the recipe – all puffed up and golden and strewn with slivered almonds.  The recipe in question was in fact for a quince clafoutis, but I have always made it with apricots (both fresh and tinned), and I still use the same recipe clipped from some long-forgotten magazine and stuck into my recipe book.  I decided on cherries before I discovered that cherries are the traditional option – I just thought they’d look pretty and add the requisite tartness to the pudding.  Clearly I am a clafoutis natural 😉

As you will see from the picture, the finished product turned out beautifully.  I’m afraid I wasn’t a traditionalist so the cherries were stoned before baking (it’s kinder that way, kind of like freezing your lobster before boiling it… :P). The clafoutis puffed up beautifully – rather like a flattish soufflé – and the play between the slightly tart, boozy cherries, the sweet yielding batter and the crispy almonds was heaven.  Do yourself a favour and make this while cherries are still plentiful!  You’ll regret it if you don’t…



Cherry clafoutis
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This traditional French dessert is as delicious as it is simple - cherries baked in a delicate sweet custard. Traditionally, the stones are left in the cherries but to assist my guests I usually remove them!
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Serves: 4
  • 3 eggs
  • 120ml cream
  • 120g caster sugar
  • splash of vanilla essence
  • 70 g plain flour, sifted
  • 25g softened butter
  • about 1.5 cups of stoned cherries
  • 100ml brandy
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • icing sugar
  • vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche to serve
  1. Beat the eggs, cream, sugar and vanilla essence together in a bowl.  Add the flour and beat with a wooden spoon for about 1 minute.  If time allows, set aside to rest for 1 hour at room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 220C and butter a 1 litre ovenproof dish.  Spread the cherries evenly over the base of the buttered dish and drizzle with the brandy.  Pour the batter over the cherries and bake on the top shelf of the oven for 15 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle with the almonds and cook for a further 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately with vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche.


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  1. says

    If you were super organized and really, really wanted to, you could what we do with our sour cherry jam, whereby we tie the cherry pits in a piece of muslin and cook them with the jam, then remove them. With the clafoutis, you could heat the cream and pits together, before embarking on the recipe, for the same effect. The pits really do add more flavour. I do agree with you though, pits are better out than in.

  2. Big See says

    Hi there,
    I notice you are South African and I wonder if I could ask you a favor? I’m in the States and just started dating a wonderful South African girl (Cape Town) and I would like to surprise her by calling her a “cute” name in Afrikaans — nothing TOO familiar or intimate, but something endearing — like the Afrikaans equivalent of “Sweetie” or “Cutie”. Could you help me out? I would really appreciate it. I can be reached at — thank you!

  3. says

    Hi BC
    Hmmm, a savoury clafoutis… now there is an idea! Served with a nice peppery rocket salad – I think I’ll have to try that!
    Hi Neil
    You’re a better man than me, mate!! I’m not sure I ever see that happening in my chaotic cooking. But I would love to taste a clafoutis done that way just to taste the difference…
    Hi Big See
    Thanks for dropping by – have e-mailed you about your translation :-)

  4. spittoonextra says

    Cherry Clafoutis.

    If I had a garden a cherry tree would take pride of place – mind you I would also want an apple tree or two. My parents next door neighbour had a superbly fruitful plum tree, huge juicy fruits, that…