Cherry Goat Cheese Clafoutis

Cherry Goat Cheese Clafoutis-2

I’m not a fan of cherry pie (too sweet).  How un-American is that?  You can practically hear George Washington grumbling as he rolls over in his grave.  Oh wait, George Washington chopped down the cherry tree, at least apocryphally.  Maybe he wasn’t a fan of cherry pie either.  Maybe if George had enjoyed a Cherry Goat Cheese Clafoutis once in awhile the father of the United States might have been depicted by contemporary artists looking as if he were actually pleased about it.  Clafoutis can cheer anyone up.  As a student without much money in the French-speaking part of Switzerland I would sometimes treat myself to a slice of a beautiful clafoutis displayed in a pastry shop window.  It was one of those dependable, not terribly expensive indulgences that made me feel comforted and sophisticated at the same time.  With one foot in the tart world and another in the cake world, a medium that tasted a bit like crêpes and felt like custard, how could it not brighten my day?

In one of those weird geo-culinary twists of fate, as you read this we’re biking and cooking in the Vaucluse, in Provence, a stone’s throw east of old Occitan France, which gave clafoutis its name, from the verb “clafir,” meaning to fill, as in filling the batter of this treat with cherries.  But clafoutis has since migrated all over France, and although the traditional version is made with cherries, it’s possible to find others made with yellow plums or blueberries.  In addition to the commitment to cherries, the other clafouti tradition is to bake the cherries in the dessert with their pits.  This does this improve the flavor, while also preventing the cherries from collapsing.  When the clafoutis emerges from the oven it’s puffed up, a bit like a souflée, but as it cools it shrinks.  This is fine, the usual way it’s served, with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Okay, so not being able to leave well enough alone we had to mess around with tradition a bit (hey, you’re lucky we didn’t use lychees).  Jody incorporated goat cheese, which adds a mild tang to the batter, and we decided to forgo the customary dusting of powdered sugar and just run the thing under the broiler with a bit of sugar sprinkled on top.  To the traditionalists among our readers, you know what to do if none of this is to your liking.  For everyone else who loves cherries, desserts and goat cheese, we say welcome aboard.  Just watch out for the pits.  Enjoy.  Ken

TRAVEL NOTE: I may be a bit slow on the response time this week, given the vagaries of time zones, availability of wifi, etc.  Merci.

Cherry Goat Cheese Clafoutis-3

CHERRY GOAT CHEESE CLAFOUTIS

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ pounds washed, stemmed unpitted cherries
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5 ounces soft goat cheese
  • ½ cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF
  2. Generously butter 1, 2 or 4 gratin dishes, depending on the size.  I like using 2 of my 8″ Staub enameled cast iron pans.
  3. Arrange the cherries in the dishes.  The cherries should fit snuggly in a single layer.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until foamy.  Add the ½ cup sugar, salt and vanilla and beat until the sugar dissolves.  Beat in the goat cheese until smooth.  Do the same with the flour, and then the milk and cream.  If the batter is lumpy from the cheese and you don’t like it pour it through a strainer. Pour the batter over the cherries.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
  6. Continue baking until puffed and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.  Run under the broiler if you want a little more color on the top.
  7. Transfer to a rack to cool.
  8. Serve at room temperature.

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Jody Notes:

I was thumbing through Dorie Greenspan’s book, AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE, when I came across her recipe for clafoutis.  Clafoutis is one of those recipes I’ve made again and again over the years and have never been completely happy with the end result.  Ken seems to have some romantic attachment to the dish so I said I’d try it for the post.  I trust Dorie and I loved the idea of making it with whole unpitted cherries.  It makes so much sense in that the juices are contained.  

And yet… on the page before, a picture of a “tourteau de chevre,” a goat cheese cake in a crust, a caught my eye.  Gordon Hamersley used to make an amazing version of it at the original Hamersley’s Bistro that I ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  

I decided to try combining the two recipes.  I know, I know, that makes me the pastry equivalent of some mad scientist.  Still… I don’t know if Dorie or the French would approve, but it is fabulous.

Go ahead, leave a comment, add your two-cents to the conversation.  We love hearing what you think.

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62 thoughts

  1. Thank you for this recipe, your clafoutis takes me back ages…my mum used to bake it quite often when I was a small child
    And loving goats chees I definitely must try it out…now I’m off skinning my tomatoes for my lunch salad ;)
    Have a nice day

  2. Oh this looks delicious, however “untraditional” it might be! I think I might even like your version even better than the “version tradi” as we say in French. I was non-plussed by this year’s cherries, but with some luck next summer’s cherries will be good and I can give this a try. And I agree, ALWAYS leave the pits!

  3. I’ve made clafoutis for years and love it. Mark Bittman has a terrific recipe using 3 eggs and I use Greek yoghurt. Delicious. Can’t wait to try yours!

  4. This is beautiful. I like that you combined two recipes because I too don’t like too sweet. The goat cheese cuts the sweetness perfectly. I’ve never tried making a clafoutis, but now I really want to. What gorgeous photos and I love Jody’s addendum :) Good work guys!

  5. Pingback: Cherry Goat Cheese Clafoutis | JeanClaudePitre

  6. For some reason your grape foccacia comes to mind – one I’ve made over and over and everyone loves. How about grapes-for-cherries for the pit – y – less among us….?

    • Funny, I just returned from France, where I mentioned alternative fruit in place of the grapes (yellow plums, e.g.) and people weren’t terribly enthusiastic…. Which is not to say that I wouldn’t try it, especially since we’ve already violated the tradition by adding goat cheese. I love grape foccacia, by the way. Thanks. Ken

  7. I agree with Cherry pie being too sweet. The only person who makes a perfect cherry pie in my opinion is my mother, but I am going to try this. I have made a pear clafoutis before and it was delicious.

    • Pear–another good idea! I think you’ll like the addition of goat cheese. Oh, and you just give everyone a heads up about the pits, although our 24 y.o. son did help himself to a slice when we weren’t home and later complained that he thought at first that he’d encounted the “hardest damn almond he’d ever eaten in his life.” Ken

    • Well, that depends on how you feel about your dinner guests. (“Oh, gosh, didn’t I mention the pits?”). Everybody collects a little pile of pits on their plate. It matches the ones left from the olives you served as an appetizer. :-) Obviously, you’ve got to make kids understand what’s happening–or save it for the adults. Ken

  8. Is the cheese hard or soft? i would love to make this!!! it would homemade!!! wait did i tell u that i make homemade goat cheese. it is really good it makes me like cheese more… did i tell you that i have chickens so the eggs would be mine to!! it looks really good and by the way good photos too!!

      • i have this great soft cheese!! do you think that would work Your suppose to put herbs in it but when we make our cheesecake it is really good! it almost has a lemon taste! from the cheese! it is called garden herb soft cheese i think?!?! i have 6 goats and only 4 are going to be milked. the other 2 cant be milked one is a boy and the other almost died of having a baby

  9. Ah-mazing. I want to make this in my new house, but I don’t want to miss cherry season. (By the time my house kitchen is up and running, it may be Thanksgiving!) Hope ya’ll are getting in photo time amid all that cycling and cooking. Cheers!

    • After a couple of days of “restoration,” as the French are wont to say, at our friend’s house in Menerbes, we’ve shifted to the Mas de la Rose in Orgon, where we’ll be fitted for our bikes and attend a road safety discussion and rosé tasting before setting off on our first ride. La vie est dûre. Ken

    • We are cycling through Rousillon–and yes, we will undoubtedly note “les ochres.” Orgon, where we start today, is almost in les Alpilles. I am MILDLY CONCERNED ABOUT HILLS… but I’m sure the cycling routes will be fine. You do see cafés offering a “dejeuner vélo,” (cyclist lunch)–a plate of pasta, a glass of red wine, and a slice of fruit tart. :-) Ken

  10. I would gladly partake of a serving of this clafoutis long before the traditional. I may try using tart cherries, though. I much prefer using them over sweet cherries because, like you, I’m not much of a fan of overly sweet things. I also think Jody’s use of goat cheese her is a great idea. I bet it’s flavor is a welcome twist.
    Wishing you both a fantastic holiday. I’ve found going without an internet connection isn’t a bad thing. :)

    • Sour cherries sounds like a super idea. I’m jealous. For some reason we never see them. And yes about the internet. I’ve been offline for three days and it’s great. After I finish with this round I’m going off the grid for another couple of days. Thanks for the good wishes. Ken

    • I think clafoutis is exactly your kind of dessert, Conor. I think you ought to consider it after one of your Texas chilifests. Just when everyone thinks they have you pegged and they’re expecting Mexican flan, you shift gears and whip out the clafoutis for dessert. :-) Ken

  11. Please stop – this is killing me. Actually, it is perfect – the most perfect recipe for cherries. The most perfect recipe, period (as you people say). And I agree with everything – of course stones in! – and I love the idea of you writing this while cycling around Provence. I’d love to hear more about your adventures, with more recipes, more ideas, more photos of the area…More is definitely more. Thank you. Sophie

  12. This was wonderful. I made a gluten-free version and it disappeared very quickly! The whole cherries were wonderful and made the dish. Merci!

  13. Love the idea of adding goat cheese to the batter, but I must admit to being a pitter. Just too lazy to spit them out while eating….slows me down too much, I think.

  14. I so love cherry clafoutis…and what you guys did with it…oh, it makes me so happy. I am very curious of the results as I am sure they are plate-licking good. I need to try this soon!!

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