Jits French dessert comes in many forms, from crisp Yorkshire pudding-like creations to cream flans sold cold by the slice, but all are topped with a layer of seasonal fruit (although, strictly speaking, everything that is not a cherry is a flagnarde). This deliciously rich version with plums and almonds, inspired by the recipe of three-star chef Guy Savoy, also happens to be gluten-free.
Preparation 20 mins
To cook 45 minutes
300g of plums (about 10-12)
2 tablespoons demerara sugar (optional)
100g ground almonds
A pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon mixed spicesor nutmeg or cinnamon (optional)
100g caster sugar
300 g whole cream (see step 6)
100ml whole milk
1 Choose fruit
You can use cherries for this instead of plums (indeed Monsieur Savoy does) although you may need more to fill out the dish. I don’t bother pitting the cherries for this, both because it slows down the ensuing binge eating and because the pits would add flavor to the finished pudding, but be sure to let guests know if you pit not.
2 Other variants
Indeed, almost any fruit that is in season, or that you have in the freezer, will do great in a clafoutis, although I find that very juicy, acidic berries, such as blackberries and raspberries, can sink into the batter and affect the consistency of the cake (the results are still extremely tasty).
Cut large fruits into halves or quarters and toss the juiciest ones in a little cornmeal to minimize leakage.
3 Prepare the plums and the baking dish
Heat the oven to 180 C (160 C fan)/350 F/Gas 4. Wash the plums, remove the stems, then cut them in half and remove the pits. Arrange the halves cut-side up in a round baking dish about 24cm in diameter (or similar) – this is to see if you need all the fruit – then remove and put out a kitchen towel to dry. Generously grease the dish with butter, then sprinkle with demerara sugar, if using.
4 Mix the dry ingredients
Put the corn flour, almonds, salt and spices, if using, in a bowl and whisk briefly to break up any lumps. (Other flavoring ideas include a quarter teaspoon of ground cardamom or ginger, a pinch of vanilla or almond extract, or the grated zest of an unwaxed orange, all of which should be added batter with milk.)
5 Add to beaten eggs
Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat, then add the caster sugar and continue beating vigorously until the two are well combined and the mixture begins to pale slightly.
Stir in ground almond mixture until no pockets of dry ingredient remain.
6 Finish the dough
Stir in the creme fraiche – you can substitute whipped or double cream, if you prefer, but a good creme fraiche will give your clafoutis a delicious, slightly tart flavor that works great with the plums. Look for one with a fat content of around 40%; the thick yellow Norman tri is ideal, rather than the watery versions favored by some UK supermarkets.
Finally, add the milk.
7 Assemble the clafoutis
Pour the batter into the greased baking dish, then carefully place the plums cut side up.
This might sound more faff than just putting the fruit in the dish before pouring it over the batter, but it means the fruit won’t be completely submerged. (If it drips, your clafoutis will still be delicious, but it won’t look as good.)
8 Bake until set
Bake the clafoutis for about 45 minutes, until the pastry is lightly golden in the middle and darker on the sides, and the plums are nicely caramelized – needle carefully (remember, this will very hot) should reveal that it is just firm in the center, rather than wobbly and runny.
9 Leave to cool then serve
Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature or lukewarm before serving, as hot out of the oven it will have very little flavor. To be honest, this particular clafoutis is quite rich on its own, but, for the sake of contrast, it’s also extremely enjoyable served with more creme fraiche fresh from the fridge, ice cream or liquid cream.