The bright star of this summer was having my nephews stay with me for two delicious weeks. It was their first time visiting me on their own, without mom or dad, and I went into full Auntie Aubie mode. We spent our time swimming at the lake, exploring for interesting insects (their favorite activity), reading stories, canoeing, digging potatoes to make homemade French fries, and of course picked tons of berries in the garden, everyday. Gathering eggs from the chickens became a thrilling hourly activity, rather than my usual once-daily task. We made blueberry cobbler, and strawberry popsicles, banana muffins, but the recipe that stole their hearts was raspberry clafoutis. It had never occurred to me that clafoutis is the perfect recipe for a kid to learn how to make. It’s incredibly easy, with few ingredients, and the method is simple.
Clafoutis is a classic French dessert, falling somewhere between a thick crepe and a sweet quiche. Basically, a baked custard with a little more structure than the classic custard. Or as my nephews insisted… it’s just like pizza!! But with raspberries!! Instead of pepperoni!! Haha. It is nothing like pizza. But their enthusiasm was convincing. We made it three times. They couldn’t get enough. And seeing as we are blessed with four different varieties and colors of raspberries, wild blackberries galore, and always more eggs than I know what to do with, it turned out to be a great way to use what was abundantly available to us.
Halfway through our second clafoutis, it suddenly dawned on me that I’ve never featured kids in an episode. Well except for this adorable cameo of Dax, the oldest of my two nephews, when he was just a newborn! So I approached it just like when I film with farmers and gardeners, and did a little sit-down interview with them that yielded some hilariously spontaneous answers from them (“clafoutis looks like pizza but it doesn’t taste like pizza”) and a fun tongue-twisting clafoutis chant at the end. I laughed so much while editing this episode, missing them dearly after they had gone home to my sister.
Clafoutis is traditionally made with cherries, but it works well with most berries and fruit. We call our clafoutis “any berry clafoutis” because we tried all kinds of different berries and everyone of them was great! We even used my homegrown, frozen strawberries although I had read you should thaw out and drain frozen berries before using them. But we just threw the frozen berries right in, and even that turned out fine. There are all kinds of expert tips for making clafoutis: warming up your clafoutis dish ahead of pouring in the batter, letting the batter rest 30 minutes before pouring into the pie plate, putting the batter through the blender to avoid lumps. We did none of those things. We didn’t fuss, it came together so easily each time and was devoured in minutes. If our clafoutis were not worthy of the finest French restaurants, we certainly didn’t know, nor did we care!
The recipe is adaptable. You can make a gluten-free clafoutis by using gluten-free flour, and you can use plant-based milk instead of dairy. Clafoutis is delicious warm or cold. Be sure to sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top for the full fancy dessert effect and to cover up any cracks or imperfections. And don’t forget a nice dollop of vanilla ice cream on top. Enjoy!
Dax and Gavin’s Any Berry Clafoutis
Clafoutis is a classic French dessert, falling somewhere between a thick crepe and a sweet quiche.
- 1 Tbsp room temperature butter
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup flour
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 2 cups berries
- Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
- Heat the oven 350 F. Grease a 9-inch pie plate with the soft butter. Place the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt until smooth and pale. Add the flour and half the milk and whisk until smooth, but do not overmix.
- Add the remaining milk and whisk until combined. Rest the batter for 20 minutes or so.
- Pour the batter into the greased pie plate. Scatter the berries on top. Place the baking sheet with the clafoutis on it in the oven and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes. The edges should be golden, the clafoutis will have puffed and should be firm but still have a slight jiggle if you shake the pie plate.
- Let the clafoutis cool in the pie dish for about 30 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar, slice and serve warm or cold.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Aube Giroux is a food writer, a James Beard award-winning documentary filmmaker and a passionate organic gardener and home cook, who shares her love of cooking on her farm-to-table blog, Kitchen Vignettes.