If you read the title of this post and said to yourself, “What the heck is ‘clafoutis’ and how on earth do you pronounce it?” I’ll tell you. First of all it is pronounced kla-foo-TEE and it is a rustic country dessert from the Limousin (don’t ask me how to pronounce that!) region of France. Traditionally it is made with the first sweet cherries of the season, and the cherries were left unpitted so their kernels can release their delicate almond flavor as they bake (also don’t ask me how you are supposed to politely spit out the pits from said cherries). The sweet cherries are surrounded by a thin batter similar to pancake batter and baked.
I have been obsessed with making clafoutis ever since I went to the South of France and bought the green, hand crafted baking dish that you see in these photos. Of course when you pay a fortune for something (when you could probably find something similar at Target for ten bucks), carefully wrap it and use up your carry-on allowance to cart it half way around the world (fortunately I bought two because despite all my careful wrapping and carting one still managed to break) you better find some ways to use it.
I make all sorts of clafoutis – peach, plum, mango, pear, chocolate, dairy free and not. But I must say I do love the traditional cherry very much! I consider this particular recipe a “pantry dessert” as it can be made on the spur of the moment with a well stocked pantry. I am flying off to Chicago in the morning to attend the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo and my fridge is purposefully a little on the bare side right now. Fortunately I always have a few cans of sweet cherries in the pantry, as well as some sliced almonds and either almond or coconut milk because a gal still needs dessert even if the fridge is bare.
Since the intention of leaving the cherries unpitted in this dessert is to release the almond flavor from the pits I thought to myself, why not just make it with almond milk and add a few almonds? Kind of genius if I do say so myself! And the addition of the sliced almonds gives a nice textural contrast to the creamy filling and soft cherries.
Usually the batter for clafoutis is made with milk, eggs and some flour but to keep it gluten-free I just whisk in a little tapioca or corn starch and for dairy free I use either light coconut milk or almond milk. If you use coconut milk in this recipe, increase the almond extract to 1 teaspoon.
If you are attending the Expo, come and say “Hi” and if you can’t attend, make some clafoutis; it will cheer you up!
Gluten Free Cherry Almond Clafoutis Recipe
2 – 15 ounce cans dark sweet pitted cherries, drained
1½ cups almond or light coconut milk
¼ cup tapioca or corn starch
½ cup agave nectar or sugar
½ teaspoon pure almond extract (use 1 teaspoon if using coconut milk)
½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
½ cup sliced almonds
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 10 inch round baking dish with gluten-free non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle some sugar into the dish and tilt it around to coat the bottom and sides, tap out the excess. Layer the cherries in the bottom of the prepared dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together the almond (or coconut) milk with the tapioca or corn starch. Whisk in the agave or sugar, almond extract and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with the egg yolk well then add to the milk mixture and whisk well to combine. Pour the batter over the cherries. Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is browned and the batter is set. Let cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Best served warm or at room temperature.
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