I have been having a love affair this year with…Julia Childs Berry Clafoutis. Maybe someday I’ll complete that sentence with news in the romance department but in the meantime, I’m not complaining a bit about settling with this simple, custardy fruit dessert. Clafoutis is kind of a cross between a cake and a pudding and it is everything, This year it’s a simple pleasure that’s been like a little salvation.
This easy recipe has been on rotation here throughout the summer, and every time I make it I can’t help but wonder how we in the States aren’t quite as enamored with it as we should be. We embrace all kinds of fruit and berry desserts, cobblers and crisps and pies, oh my, but not clafoutis. As a matter of fact it might be the best berry dessert you’ve never heard of!
About Julia Childs Clafoutis:
Honestly, I think it’s the name. It’s French and it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue in a way so many French words do. And it has an “s” at the end, so that’s weird for we Americans. So just to clear it up, here’s the proper pronunciation. The weirdness doesn’t stop there, though. Clafoutis is usually made with cherries, and when made with other fruits is Flaugnarde. I’m not even going there…if the name Clafoutis was good enough for Julia, it’s good enough for me!
I still have yet to make the “official” cherry version. But I’ve made this with raspberries, blueberries, and a combo of raspberries and blueberries, and with strawberries. Each bite of each one has been like heaven, still slightly warm, just a little wobbly, almost pudding-like deliciousness.
Just know that this is a super simple, casual French housewife “peasant” kind of dessert. It’s maybe best made for family and/or a friend or two. The looks are a little unpredictable, and it’s not a “show off” dessert, so it’s maybe not the best “celebratory” dessert. I’d call it a little sumpin’ best served still warm in small bowls, sprinkled with powdered sugar and devoured on the spot…it really doesn’t keep that well.
I adapted my recipe from the New York Times (they have waived subscription on thousands of their recipes which I love). I learned more than I ever wanted to from the hundreds of comments on this recipe, but since it’s a “thing” being a famous recipe and all, I’ve gone back and found Julia’s recipes in print, below. If that’s hard to read, check out Intenet Archives for the full volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Making Julia Childs Clafoutis:
So after all that, basically think of Clafoutis as a toss together dessert that’s nothing more than fruit and a crepe batter. You’ll want to mix up the batter in a blender (a whisk works, too, but I like the blender versions better) then pour a little into a well-buttered (that’s key or it will stick and not come out easily) dish. Add the fruit, sprinkle liberally with sugar, then add the rest of the batter. Bake it. Serve it warm with powdered sugar.
If the batter sits for about 20 to 30 minutes (just like crepes) the clafoutis are a little more tender, but it’s not a necessary step. Julia has a lot of little adaptations for different fruits, but so far, I’ve found the lesser amount of flour to work better no matter the fruit I’ve used. I also think that a lot of the fruit we buy these days at the store isn’t as juicy as it used to be. If you cut your fruit (strawberries for instance) and it’s very juicy, it’s best to strain off any excess. That will ensure the batter sets up nicely and your clafouti doesn’t take on too much color from the fruit you use. You can strain while the batter rests.
I have made clafoutis with varying amounts of fruit. It’s a great recipe to use up just a little, for instance, one small package of raspberries (6 to 8 ounces) or more. I used it when I turned over a package of strawberries only to find a little horror but managed to save the ones on top…I have no idea exactly how much that was! And I’ve used it with a full two cups of fruit. All have been fab, but I actually like this recipe better with less fruit than the whole two cups! That’s because I love any kind of custard or pudding and the custardy portion of the dessert just shines when it’s not overloaded.
As far as the liquid in the batter, I love that you don’t need cream or half and half for this recipe and you can make it with whole or 2%. I did try it with 1%. That was better when I added about a tablespoon of melted butter to the batter. I do like this best made with whole milk, though, and I hafta admit, I like it even more when I use part milk with a splash of cream if I happen to have cream in the fridge.
Saving Money on Julia Childs Clafoutis:
These days I buy most my baking goods at Aldi where they rival any sales prices at the grocery store. If you don’t have an Aldi, stock up during sales, especially around Easter and during the winter holidays. You can check out what will likely be on sale during any holiday on my post Win at the Grocers.
I let the sales dictate what fruit I might use in a lot of recipes (or what recipe I might use). Again Aldi has great prices and know that berries are often on sale before any summer holiday. And yup, I have a post for that, too. Check out what might be on sale during the Summer Holidays.
I hope this post finds you and your loved ones well. We had a little break in the weather for a couple of days here in Minnesota and now we’re under excessive heat warnings, along with most of the nation. You might want to hold out for cooler weather for this one…it does spend 50 minutes in the oven.
It’s been a while since we’ve blown the power in our area, but it happens now and then, I know it happens in some places with regularity!
Take care all!
Julia Childs Berry Clafoutis
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour plus optional rest
- Yield: 4 to 5 servings 1x
- Butter for pan
- 1 and 1/4 cups whole (preferred) or 2 percent milk
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar, divided
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2/3 to 1 cup flour *
- 1 to 2 cups (generous cups) raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or strawberries
- Powdered sugar in a shaker or sieve
Notes on flour:
To measure flour, stir to lighten then gently spoon into measuring cup and level off. Use less flour using fewer berries and more flour if using the full 2 cups or if very juicy.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a medium-size baking dish (1 1/2 quarts) at least 1 1/2 inches deep.
Place the milk, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour in a blender. Blend at top speed until smooth and frothy, about 1 minute. If time allows, for best results rest batter 20 to 30 minutes.
Pour 1/2 of batter in the baking dish. Sprinkle berries over the batter and sprinkle on the remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Pour on the rest of the batter. Place in the center of the oven and bake about 50 minutes, until top is puffed and browned. A tester should come out clean but the center should be very soft. Cracks are to be expected; it will sink as cools.
Serve warm or lukewarm, sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Keywords: Berries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Desserts, Fruit Desserts, Julia Child, new york times, Raspberries, Strawberries
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