Cherry Clafoutis with Chestnut Flour Recipe

I attended the Omnivore festival in Paris last week, a fabulous three-day event during which inspiring chefs climb up on stage to demo dishes and talk about their cuisine, and the sentiment that was expressed by several of them mirrors my own: we are currently going through the toughest time of year for the produce-oriented cook.

It no longer feels like winter, and certainly we’ve had our share of cold-weather vegetables, but spring is not quite there, and the bounty it promises has yet to be delivered. We are stuck in this limbo of non-season, having to make do with what’s left of the winter months — which isn’t actually very much — as we dream of pea shoots and strawberries.

Recently, this limbo of non-season has made me pine for — of all things — cherry clafoutis.

Fruit is especially hard. The apples and pears are all from storage, and the citrus is a wan version of itself — all pith and little flavor — so we’re mostly left with exotic or frozen fruit.

Recently, this state of affair has made me pine for cherry clafoutis, and more specifically this clafoutis, which I’ve had bookmarked for seven years, ever since it was first published. I planned to make it with frozen sour cherries, which can be easily procured from the all-frozen-foods grocery store the French love so.

It is a slightly unorthodox clafoutis, in that the egg whites are whipped to create a mouthfeel that is moist and fluffy, rather than the more classic, flan-like texture. It is delicious.

Instead of using regular wheat flour, I chose to make my clafoutis with the chestnut flour I brought back from Corsica. I intuited that it would go well with the flavor of the cherries, much like hazelnut flour flattered them in this loaf cake; I am happy to report my intuition was spot-on.

As for the cherry pits, it is up to you to keep them in or out: tradition leaves the cherries unpitted — supposedly this adds a hint of almond flavor — but having to maneuver the pits around your mouth can be a severe hindrance to your enjoyment, and certainly if you’re serving this to young children, the pits need to go. (The frozen sour cherries I used are already pitted, so that was that.)

Join the conversation!

Are you experiencing the same lull in seasons where you live? How do you deal with it? And do you ever make clafoutis ?

Cherry Clafoutis with Chestnut Flour

Cherry Clafoutis with Chestnut Flour Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serves 6.

Cherry Clafoutis with Chestnut Flour Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 240 ml (1 cup) Greek-style yogurt or ricotta
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) unrefined light blond sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kirsch (optional)
  • 70 grams (2/3 cup) almond flour
  • 85 grams (2/3 cup) chestnut flour (substitute the flour of your choice, including all-purpose wheat flour)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 500 grams (about 4 cups) cherries, fresh or frozen, pitted or unpitted

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F) and grease a 30-cm (12-inch) pie pan.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat together the egg yolks with the yogurt, sugar, and kirsch, if using. Add the almond and chestnut flours, and beat them in briefly, without overmixing.
  3. In another, thoroughly grease-free bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and salt until they form soft peaks (I do this by hand, but an electric whisk makes it easier). Fold into the first mixture and pour into the pan. Arrange the cherries on top, pushing them down gently into the batter.
  4. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until set and golden. Transfer to a rack to cool and serve, lightly warm or at room temperature. The leftovers are delicious, straight from the fridge, for breakfast the next day.

Notes

Adapted from a recipe by Mingou Mango.

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  • Annabel Smyth

    Can you get chestnut flour in French supermarkets, and if so, is it shelved with the other flours, or elsewhere? I ask, because I had the most delicious flan made with chestnut flour in a restaurant in Tours in February, and I wanted to recreate this. I looked in vain in whichever Grand Surface it was we did our big shop (stocking up with things that aren’t available in the UK, or are significantly cheaper in France). I’m told one can get it here, but I’ve not seen it….

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Unless you’re in a region that produces chestnut flour, you’re unlikely to find it in a regular supermarket. It’s generally found in specialty/gourmet shops, especially those that sell Corsican goods, or in organic supermarkets.

      • Annabel Smyth

        Thanks. I would like to get some if I can. Odd that in times past it was the staple food of quite a large part of France, I believe, and now it’s a luxury!

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

          Very true! Maybe we’ve heightened our standards for what makes a good chestnut flour, too. I understand it is quite susceptible to bugs and other such niceties, which is unacceptable to the modern shopper but was probably overlooked when it was the only flour available.

    • Tamsin

      You can buy Corsican chestnut flour online from http://www.paniercorse.com/ I’ve ordered from them before and found their produce to be very good although the shipping rates are rather high!

  • Lindsey Farr

    Oh wow! This is inspired! And you are spot on about the current produce “non-season”! Sigh several more weeks of sweet potatoes and winter squash…

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Take heart, asparagus is just around the corner! :)

  • jpcooks

    Even here in Southern California, we are in that transitional produce slump. I love sour cherries and have no qualms about using the frozen variety. This looks to be exactly what I need to liven things up a bit. Thank you for sharing. Cheers

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Let me know if you try it!

  • http://egobsd.org/log/ candice

    I have made clafoutis, but only with canned sour cherries, because they do not grow anywhere near this far south. We get apples, peaches, and pears a few hours north, but cherries are always from far away.

    In Louisiana the produce lull is at the end of summer when it gets too hot for everything to survive, and it’s not so much a lull as an endless procession of eggplants, tomatoes, okra, and peppers. All the green stuff dies off by May or so, and the strawberries are gone too by then.

    On the other hand, I have strawberries in my refrigerator which were probably picked early this morning! We have citrus from Nov-Jan and strawberries from Dec-May (sometimes a gap in january) here.

    Cheers!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Sounds like a lovely growing season! Enjoy the strawberries — what do you plan to do with them?

      • http://egobsd.org/log/ candice

        Some of them eaten plain, some probably used for shortcakes or on crepes or waffles…. The other day I used up some overripe ones in a cobbler, basically a clafoutis without eggs. (not the biscuit-top style cobbler.)

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

          Yum, these sound so good! The trouble I’m having with strawberries is that the conventional ones are chock-full of pesticides (definitely part of the dirty dozen) and the organic ones are super pricy. I have grown my own on the bathroom window sill, but that yields a couple of strawberries every other day. :)

  • LaCoccinelle

    I have a sweet cherry tree in my garden in SW France, so I use those. I have made clafoutis several times, but it can be tasteless, the addition of chestnut flour and almonds will help, I also add Kirsch. I’ll definitely be making this.
    I live in an area of chestnut trees and a nearby town, Laguepie (82) has an annual chestnut festival at the end of October. I love it, there are so many varieties of chestnuts and walnuts and other autumn fruits and wild mushrooms, with experts on hand to explain them. Chestnut loaves are sold, which look like hedgehogs and I buy a few for the freezer, it’s not 100 chestnut four, which would be very dense and not popular, as during the wars, people only had this to eat and became very sick of it. There are huge chestnut roasters and apple presses for juice, and many of the usual locally made products contain chestnuts, such as salami, pâté and black pudding. There are usually Occitan folk dancers too. the whole day is a delight and gets more popular every year.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      You’ve painted such a vivid image of that festival, thank you! I’m ready to book my ticket right away. :)

    • Annabel Smyth

      Tarn et Garonne is cherry country par excellence, isn’t it? I always associate it with cherries, and if we are there towards the beginning of June (unlikely now that the regular event we used to go to has stopped happening :( ), we try to get some. One year we bought some at a farm gate, and they were lovely! Cherries here in the UK are always very expensive – much too expensive to cook with! Your chestnut festival sounds absolutely heavenly, it would be lovely to visit sometime.

      • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

        We should all meet up there! ^^

  • rachelsloan79

    March is also the cruelest month for cooks in the UK, so I feel your pain… I try to make the best of it by grabbing anything remotely spring-y from the farmer’s market (spinach, chard and sorrel all made their first appearance last week – yay!) and by occasionally giving into the temptation to buy a mango (this is the only time of year I ever really buy tropical fruit). Also, last autumn I went foraging for blackberries and froze most of my haul – I still have some left, and this clafoutis looks like just the way to use them up!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      I scored spinach this week too! I’m about to make it into a lentil and spinach soup with fresh sheep’s milk cheese, as per Mélodie’s suggestion in the comments for the soupe de courge butternut et lentilles.

  • http://www.figaros.ae/ Orville Peters

    Cherry Clafoutis with Chestnut Flour Recipe is just awesome delicious…I too tried and and everybody enjoyed the flavour combo. You will love my dish too which I got to learn from Figaros Pizza who are providing variety of Pizza and their Choco Pizzas are the most yummy among the ones for kids. Order pizza online and enjoy it at home. Figaro’s Pizza offering you yummy pizza, pasta, and kids meals are their speciality.

  • Renee Ranjani Shuman

    FANTASTIC recipe. Can’t wait to make this. I’ll be digging out some frozen berries from the last seasons harvest — I’ve got a bunch of sour cherries I’ve not know what to do with. Love it.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Even better if it’s fruit you’ve frozen yourself! Let me know how it turns out.

  • http://www.eatlivetravelwrite.com/ Mardi Michels

    Great looking dessert Clotilde – I love the idea of using chestnut flour! Now, to find some!

  • Bakeawaywithme.com

    I have a bag of chestnut flour sitting in my pantry…now I know what to use it for! A wonderful looking dessert! Thanks, Clotilde!

  • Karen

    I have a bag of chestnut from my native Ardèche, saved. For this!! And it has the two fruits from my childhood there, chestnut and cherries That will bring me a taste of my French country roots all the way to the Pacific Northwest where I live. Merci Clotilde!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      It does sound like the perfect recipe for you! Let me know if you try it.

  • Angela Kim

    Is it really necessary to separate the eggs and folding in the egg whites in the end?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      The beaten eggwhites make the texture light and fluffy. You can skip that step, it will simply result in a denser, more flan-like (and more traditional) texture.

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