Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Clafoutis - reworked, again

Taken from New World Provence: Modern French Cooking for Friends and Family by Alessandra and Jean-Francis Quaglia, this clafoutis can be sampled at Provence Marinaside, the restaurant that the authors own. Writes the couple: "We once took it off the menu but soon customers begged us to bring it back!"

I was one of those customers.

When I tried the published recipe, I found that an 8-inch tart pan does not hold the volume of batter. An 8-inch deep-dish pie plate is required. Also, the original uses an unbaked crust which didn't quite bake enough in the oven, leaving a slight taste of raw flour. Using a pre-baked shell improved it immensely.

I have posted this recipe twice now, each time with a little tweak here and there. It's always a winner - one that I'm happy to haul out for family and friends.

Clafoutis with white chocolate and berries
(updated March 31, 2010)
adapted from
New World Provence: Modern French Cooking for Friends and Family by Alessandra and Jean-Francis Quaglia

Set your oven to 375 F.

For the pastry shell: Use Dorie Greenspan's sweet tart dough or your own trusted tart shell recipe. Roll out the dough and place in a deep 8" pie dish (if you want to use a shallow tart pan, it needs to be 11" in diameter)

Whatever recipe you use, make sure to partially bake the shell: line the tart with foil and place pie weights, then bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 F. Remove the foil and weights. Return the shell into the oven and bake some more until the bottom of the shell begins to brown lightly, about 5 minutes. Set the crust aside.

Turn the oven down to 350 F.

For the filling

4 to 6 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream, whipped until stiff, then set aside
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons butter, slightly softened (not melting)
1 egg
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries or blueberries or mixed berries

Place flour, sugar and salt in a stand mixer and mix on low for a minute. Add the butter and run the mixer for another minute or so, until the mixture appears sandy.

Add the egg and half of the whipped cream. Set the mixer to medium-high speed for a minute and a half. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream by hand or use the mixer set on low. The batter will appear thick and luscious.

Scatter the berries in the pre-baked tart shell.

Scatter the chopped white chocolate pieces.

Pour the batter in the center of the shell, leaving a one-inch outer border free of batter. The batter will spread as it bakes and a batter-free margin prevents overflowing. Click on image below:

Bake at 350 F for 55 to 65 minutes, until the clafoutis is puffed at the sides and deeply browned all over.

Cool to room temperature, for about two hours. This dessert can also be served chilled.

  • If, after 30 minutes, you find the sides are browning too quickly, use some foil to shield it.
  • If using frozen berries, your clafoutis will bake closer to 65 minutes.
  • Do not be concerned if the clafoutis is still slightly jiggly in the centre when you take it out the oven. As long as the clafoutis is a deep golden to brown all over, the jiggle is a good thing. It will set some more with residual heat.
  • The final texture will be somewhere between cake and custard; the centre will fall a little.
  • Need a shortcut? One friend suggests using a graham cracker crust, pressed into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, as one would for cheesecakes. Another friend skipped the crust altogether and placed everything in a ceramic dish generously buttered then coated with flour. The crustless version is probably more in keeping in with traditional clafoutis. If going crustless, fill the buttered and floured pan in this order: 1/3 the batter followed by berries followed by another 1/3 batter then all of the white chocolate, then topped with the remaining 1/3 batter. I would have to say, though, that I prefer this dessert with the tart crust.
  • This is a "homey" dessert and it has a lot of tolerance for variation. But for those inclined toward details, the type of flour used is bleached and enriched all-purpose - this is the regular, ubiquitous kind found in supermarkets. The measuring technique is "dip and sweep" (dip the cup in the flour container and sweep the excess off the top). Or, for those who measure by weight, it is 3.75 oz (106 grams). Again, all this detail is probably unnecessary for this very casual dessert.


Melanie-J. said...

Julius! Thanks so much for this post. I nearly died and went to heaven when I tried this at our pot-luck last year. I am going to make this for my family for an Easter dinner treat! :)

Hope you have a fantastic long weekend! :)

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