The clafoutis was invented in Limousin, France, to showcase that region’s famous cherries. Some compare the eggy consistency of clafoutis to flan, as it’s neither cake nor custard. To me, it’s more like an extra-thick crêpe dotted with fruit. Clafoutis puffs beautifully as it bakes, and hot out of the oven, it’s crisp on the outside and airy in the middle. When chilled, however, it collapses, becoming dense and custardlike. I love it both ways.
One of the great aspects of clafoutis is its versatility. Once you know how to make the batter, you can make great desserts with it year-round. At Lucques, we’ve made clafoutis with sautéed apples in the winter and with berries in the summer. For the fall, I like a clafoutis featuring that indigenous American jewel, the cranberry. This dessert is delicious as is, but if you want to gild the lily, serve it with a dollop of bourbon-spiked whipped cream.
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 3 extra-large eggs
- ½ cup plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup walnuts
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1½ teaspoons bourbon
Heat the milk and 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until warm but not hot.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together. Whisk in 1/2 cup sugar, the flour, and the salt. Add the warm milk, whisking well to incorporate completely. Let the batter rest 1 hour at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet, and toast about 10 minutes, until they’re golden brown and smell nutty. When the nuts have cooled, chop them coarsely.
Butter a 10-inch round or oval baking dish with the 1 teaspoon butter. (You could also make six individual clafoutis if you like.) Sprinkle the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar in the dish, and tip it to coat the bottom and sides. Pour the batter into the dish. Scatter the walnuts and cranberries on top (most of them will sink). Bake about 45 minutes, until the clafoutis puffs up and is golden brown.
While the clafoutis finishes baking, whip the cream and bourbon to soft peaks.
Serve the clafoutis directly from the baking dish with the whipped cream on the side.