Advertisement feature in association with Love Fresh Cherries
Is there any nicer way to start the day than with pudding? No is the answer, especially on a Monday, as I proved to myself conclusively this Monday morning by making a cherry and dark chocolate clafoutis and eating it for breakfast.
I’ve never eaten a cherry clafoutis before, let alone cooked one, so I wasn’t sure what to expect – something cakey maybe? In pictures it looks a bit like a sponge? It wasn’t like that at all. It was much lighter and more delicious and gave me that happy face when something is so good that you scrunch up your shoulders a little bit, and your eyes, and do a contented sigh.
I’d say a cherry clafoutis is a bit more like a baked egg custard (which I love) but with a teeny bit more texture. Because Bee became severely gluten intolerant while she was pregnant, I always try to think about how I can make my recipes gluten free and with the cherry clafoutis it’s simple – just switch regular flour for ground almonds. Almonds and cherries always work brilliantly together, and to be honest even if you’re not particularly wanting to make a gluten free clafoutis, it’s worth making the switch anyway.
I love fresh British cherries at the best of times – so juicy and sweet and such a delicate flavour – but I can’t think that I’ve ever done anything with them other than scoff them straight from the box. (I stuck glace cherries on top of my piña colada cupcakes but that hardly counts).
Cooked cherries were a revelation – warm from the oven, plump and delicious and oozing with flavour, an absolute joy. British cherry season is currently in full swing, and cherries are full of good things like antioxidants and melatonin, which helps promote better sleep, so there’s very little reason not to make a cherry clafoutis really.
In fact, although the whole ‘pudding for breakfast’ thing might seem rather decadent, the cherries in one quarter of my cherry clafoutis count as one of your five a day and will give you 25% of your RDA of vitamin C. Then it’s basically eggs, milk, nuts – a kind of hearty pancake if you will.
I added 74% dark chocolate because cherries and dark chocolate as a combination is YUM and everyone knows dark chocolate is terribly good for you with all that iron and endorphins and what not. Or the endorphins might be running, I’m not sure.
I did quite a bit of research into the best way to make cherry clafoutis and came across quite a few mixed messages. One question is whether you stone the cherries or not. Some chefs, including Julia Child, who you think would know better, say to stone them, but traditionally the stones are left in. Apparently there is something in the stones that reacts with something else and helps to flavour the clafoutis as it cooks. (Brilliant technical description there from me.)
I went with leaving them in because I’m essentially lazy and also don’t mind spitting them out, but if you’re feeding your clafoutis to small children you might want to take the stones out.
To cook my cherry and dark chocolate clafoutis I used a 9 inch flan tin, which I would say serves four generously. (I ate half of it for my breakfast, but in two servings, so I think that’s fine. Also it means I got half my RDA of vitamin C just from breakfast, so snaps for me.) My tin did have a loose bottom, but I put it on another tray in the oven in case the batter oozed. It did a tiny bit, so I felt quite smug about having thought of the extra tray, but it firms up pretty quickly.
One of my absolute pet hates with recipes is when you see something that looks relatively simple, and then it has a list of about 27 thousand ingredients. In my experience you really hardly ever need as many things as a recipe says, and having a huge list is just off-putting, so I parred my cherry clafoutis recipe right down.
Some of the things which I didn’t include, which I saw in other clafoutis recipes – vanilla extract, baking powder, butter, kirsch, cream, almond extract… no, no, no, no, no, no. You don’t need any of it, especially not if you are leaving the cherry stones in and have switched to ground almonds.
Keep it simple and let the cherries speak for themselves.
Cherry and dark chocolate clafoutis – ingredients
Here’s what you need to make my super easy gluten free cherry and dark chocolate clafoutis:
- A teeny bit of butter and caster sugar for the tin
- 400g of fresh British cherries
- 40g good quality dark chocolate
- 50g ground almonds
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 210ml milk
That’s it! I did dust my clafoutis at the end with a bit of brown sugar but I’m not convinced it added anything.
Cherry and dark chocolate clafoutis – method
Preheat the oven to 350/180 degrees or 160 fan. Grease your tin with a little butter and a sprinkle of sugar.
Spread the whole cherries out over the base of the tin along with the dark chocolate, broken up into small chunks.
Interestingly, Julie Childs recommends cooking about a third of the batter first, just for a few minutes, and then adding the cherries, so that they sit higher. I found mine bobbed quite naturally to the top though, so this is an unnecessary step in my (surely now) expert opinion.
Then all you have to do is make a batter with the rest of the ingredients. I started with the dry ingredients and beat the eggs in first before gradually adding the milk, just to help keep it smooth.
Pour the batter over the cherries and chocolate and cook for around 40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. It can get a bit of brown on the top but it only needs to be a pale golden colour.
And there you have it – a very simple but delicious gluten free cherry and dark chocolate clafoutis.
Serve warm from the oven with a side of self-control.
Find out more about the health benefits of cherries and the different varieties available.