There are two schools when it comes to cherry clafoutis. Those who pit the cherries, and those who don’t. I like not to, because it allows the clafoutis to be ready for the oven in just a few minutes; because the pits reputedly impart flavor; and because I don’t mind gently removing the pits with each mouthful. It prolongs the enjoyment.
Thomas, on the other hand, is adamantly against pits. Indignant. What had I done? Never mind that a clafoutis had miraculously materialized within the 15-minute half-time break of Brazil vs Chile. Still, he insisted, had he known, he himself would have pitted the cherries.
Pits are polarizing. The good news is, at the end of the day, no one complains. Certainly not the one who surreptitiously finished the last remaining piece of clafoutis to which I had been looking forward throughout all of Colombia vs Uruguay.
Practically any fruit can go into a clafoutis but for me the craving springs with the seasons’ first cherries. Sour cherries even better. But no matter the fruit.
Pulling up in her ageless navy blue Renault 4L, my father’s fairy godmother Lily never arrived with fewer than one or two cakes, crates of homemade jams, and, always, little boxes of cotignac. But ask anyone in the family, Lily is practically synonymous with clafoutis. And, many years ago, she gave me the recipe!
2 spoonfuls flour
5 spoonfuls sugar
2 glasses milk
Beat the ingredients together and pour over the fruit in an ovenproof dish.
(Some fruit – apples, pears, apricots – should first be allowed to brown in butter and sugar)
As far as I remember Lily always left the pits. Perhaps that is why, to me, clafoutis if foremost cherry, with pits.
Clafoutis de Lily
Though I have translated into more precise measurements and added my two cents in parentheses, I leave the recipe, in its masterful simplicity, intact.
About 1 kg fruit
2 Tbsps flour (or 1 Tbsp flour and 2 Tbsps ground almonds) plus one for dusting the fruit
5 Tbsps sugar plus one for dusting the clafoutis
250 ml (1 cup) milk
1 Tbsp whiskey (or kirsch if using cherries)
Preheat oven to 375°F (200°C).
If using apples, pears, apricots, plums, or peaches: brown the washed or pealed, cored, and quartered fruit in a large skillet with a generous pad of butter and sprinkling of sugar until golden brown. Set aside. If using cherries, pit them. Or not.
Butter an ovenproof that will fit all the fruit snugly in double layers.
Place the fruit in the dish, sprinkle with a tablespoon of flour, and toss gently to dust the fruit.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until frothy. Add the milk, then the flour, salt, and whiskey (or kirsch).
Pour the batter over the fruit and slip into the oven.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the batter is set and the top nicely golden. In the last 5 or 10 minutes of cooking sprinkle a spoonful of sugar over the clafoutis.
(I much prefer clafoutis to be completely cool, though some like it lukewarm. Like the the question of pits or no pits, it is entirely up to you.)