Divas on a Dime: An easy French dessert that’s frugal, fabulous

What decadent dessert is fancy pants, French and frugal? Drum roll, please … Clafouti!

Clafouti (pronounced kla-foo-TEE.) is an easy French dessert that’s as simple to make as cobblers or crisps, totally versatile because you can use whatever fruit you have on hand, very inexpensive and certainly elegant. Did I mention it’s easy? If you can make pancakes, you can make Clafouti.

You make this classic French dessert by pouring a sweet batter, like a crepe batter, over fruit and baking. The eggy batter bakes around the fruit, resulting in a light, airy, flan-like texture. Use whatever fruit you have on hand, whip up a quick batter in your blender, and bake to impress as a dessert, special breakfast or star of your next brunch.

The history surrounding this dish is interesting. A French country dessert from the Limousin region that is traditionally made with the first cherries of the season. But the cherries are left unpitted! Yikes! The pits contain amygdalin, the active chemical in almond extract. This is why cherries are so often paired with almond.

During baking, a small amount of amygdalin is released from the pits so the delicate almond flavor is baked into the Clafouti. Personally, I’d add a bit of almond extract. Nothing blights a brunch brisker than a bunch of broken molars.

Cherry Clafouti

Yield: 4 brunch or 8 dessert servings

Time: 50 minutes

What You’ll Need:

1 ¼ cups milk, or half and half

1/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon almond extract – optional

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ cup flour

3 cups cherries, pitted OR 2 (15 ounce) cans of red tart pitted cherries

Powdered sugar, for garnish

Here’s How:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Using a blender, combine the milk, sugars, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour, and blend for a minute.

Lightly butter an 8-cup baking dish, heavy pie tin or cast-iron skillet. Pour a ¼ -inch layer of the blended mixture over the bottom. Set remaining batter aside. Place dish into the oven for about 5 minutes, so the top of the batter sets in the pan. Remove from the oven and spread the pitted cherries over the batter in the pan. Pour the remaining batter over the cherries.

Continue to bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until it’s puffed up, browned and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar and whipped cream if desired.

Now, once you know how to make this basic batter, it’s a perfect blank canvas for almost any fruit you can think of. Mango, banana, plums, peaches, nectarines, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries can all get into the Clafouti club. Depending on the season, even sautéed apples and pears, dried figs, raisins and cranberries.

And, because the recipe calls for a small amount of flour, you can totally make it gluten-free; just swap an equal amount of brown rice flour.

Give your next soiree French flair with this versatile frugally fabulous dish. Or just say it – “Clafouti”! It’s fun.

Fabulous Food by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! Website and blog – www.divasonadime.com Join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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