Despite our efforts to preserve stone fruits through canning and freezing, sometimes the surplus fruit defeats us (canning can be a hot and sticky endeavor – deskinning the peaches by boiling and soaking them in a cold water bath, halving them, and sterilizing the jars and seals). Baking is one solution even if it does involve turning on the oven during a warm summer day. A simple solution for those not ambitious enough to tackle a traditional pie is a clafoutis, a custard-based cake from southern central France. Clafoutis is derived from the French dialect word clafir, meaning “to fill”. This uncomplicated dessert may be rustic and a bit bourgeois, but stone fruit at its seasonal best needs something pillowy and straightforward, not elaborate, to highlight their flavors.
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 lb of peaches, plums, or apricots (halved and pits removed)
1 cup of cherries
3 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons of sugar
1 1/3 cup whole milk
1. Place the rack in the top 1/3 of the oven.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Butter the bottom and sides of a shallow baking dish (glass or enamelware or ceramic will all work).
4. Whisk the eggs in a bowl until smooth and evenly yellow. Add and whisk the butter and flour into the eggs until completely smooth.
5. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
6. Whisk in 1/2 cup of sugar and then milk.
7. Pour the custard mixture into the shallow baking dish.
8. Sprinkle the cut fruit randomly in the custard mixture.
9. Place the baking dish of custard mixture and cut fruit in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
10. After 30 minutes, pull out the rack and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the top.
11. Bake the custard for an additional 30 minutes until the custard wobbles slightly, but somewhat firm in the center and the top has become golden brown.
The clafoutis can be served warm or at room temperature.