The cherry tree went crazy last year. Every branch drooped with loads of giant ruby globes of juicysweet goodness. I think we picked a bushel in one morning last July. What to do with the bounty? What to do…what to do…?

Clafoutis! As much fun to say as it is to eat!


Clafoutis is a hero of a dessert – minimum effort, maximum impact and enjoyment. Ever make a Dutch Baby? Then you’ve essentially made clafoutis. Throw milk, sugar, flour, eggs and salt into a blender, whirr it up, pour over fruit (any fruit – but stone fruits and whole berries work best) into a hot pie plate and whack it back into the hot oven. Done.

Many classic recipes leave the pits in the cherries – they say it imparts a light almond-like flavor. To this I say NO. I can’t think of anything less enjoyable than dodging cherry pits in my dessert. But on the subject of flavors, while this recipe calls for vanilla, a dash of almond extract, a few grates of lemon peel would be lovely or a light dusting of nutmeg would be lovely.

Julia Child’s Classic Cherry Clafoutis
serves 6-8 (or 2. don’t ask.)

Preheat oven to 350.

1-1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
3 cups cherries, pitted (I like to keep ’em whole, some people halve them. Up to you.)
1/3 cup sugar
powdered sugar

Break out the blender, add the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla (or your flavor of choice), salt and flour into the pitcher and blend thoroughly. Butter a Pyrex pie plate (or other fireproof dish of similar size – a cast iron skillet works!) and pour a 1/4″ layer of the batter in the bottom. Place dish in the oven and bake until a film forms over the batter, and it sets just slightly. Remove the plate from oven, scatter the cherries over the batter and sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup sugar over the cherries. Pour the rest of the batter over the cherries (it’s okay if they float around), and return to the oven. Bake at 350 degrees for about for 45 minutes to an hour.

When you hit 45 minutes, turn the oven light on. Is it puffy? Is it toasty brown on top? Then it’s done. If you have to be sure, do the knife thing. I hate doing that, but sometimes insecurity sets in and the knife comes out. It happens. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, serve warm alone or with whipped cream. Or serve cold, the next day with greek yogurt and honey.