Cherry, coconut and almond clafoutis (with a touch of spice)

A fancy-looking breakfast treat or dessert that’s simpler than it looks to make, my take on a traditional clafoutis relies on coconut milk and allspice to up the sweet factor without relying on any refined sugars.

 Spring naan flatbread

If you haven’t heard of it, Clafoutis is basically a baked French fruit pancake dessert — though it looks way prettier and more complicated than that. If you still can’t picture it, think of it as crossover between a Dutch baby and popover, only the fruit’s inside. Traditionally, that fruit is cherries, though the batter is so versatile you can make it with virtually any soft fruit you have on hand.

We’ve been going through a lot of cherries lately. They’re easily my favorite fruit of the season and I can’t help but pick up a bag when I see them at the farmer’s market — even if I already have a bag at home. That’s what happened recently. And my family doesn’t seem to share the same love of cherries that I do. So my overabundance of cherries started getting prunier and prunier, which is when I decided they needed to go into some sort of baked good or get turned into chutney. I did both.

While clafoutis is mostly eaten as a dessert, I like to cut the sweetness, add some protein and make it more of a wholesome breakfast. My version, which uses almond flour in the batter (something I learned at culinary school) gives it more protein and fiber, as well as a touch of nuttiness that complements the flavor of the cherries. I also experimented with coconut milk to make this dairy free. You can use whole milk if you don’t have coconut, but again, the flavors all compliment each other well.

As a last note, I stuck to the traditional way of making this with unpitted cherries. Mostly because I wanted to make this as easy as possible and pitting cherries was an extra, unnecessary step, in m' humble opinion. However doing it this way does mean you’ll have to spit out cherry pits while eating it. So if that bugs you, take the time initially to get rid of them. (Though I was told by someone that leaving the cherry pits in also enhances the almond flavor. True or not, I buy it!)

 Spring naan flatbread
 Spring naan flatbread
 Spring naan flatbread

COOKING NOTES

Clafoutis is best when served warm. Because it’s a whipped custard, it should puff up slightly in the oven, which makes for a great presentation. Also, you can remove the cherry pits for easier eating before baking. (But that just makes more work for you on the front end!)

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

1 ¼ cups coconut milk
½ cup coconut sugar
3 eggs
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup almond flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon allspice
⅛ teaspoon salt
½ pound unpitted cherries, stemmed
½ pound blueberries
Confectioner's sugar, for dusting (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, eggs, flours, vanilla extract allspice and salt until combined.
  3. Place the berries into a 9-inch cast iron skillet or 8-cup baking dish. Carefully pour the batter into the dish over the berries.
  4. Transfer to the oven and bake until the clafoutis is browned and starting to puff up, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool slight. Dust with the confectioner’s sugar if you want it to look even prettier than it already is!