A rustic French dessert that defies classification.
This past weekend I had a yearning for clafoutis. My stomach rumbles at more or less regular intervals at the thought of this classic dessert that every French grandmother has in her repertoire.
Clafoutis is one of those rustic desserts that defies classification. A cross between a custard, a thick pancake, and a flan; it’s neither complicated nor intricate but it’s absolutely irresistible. In essence, it amounts to a moist crêpe-like batter studded with fruit.
What makes it great isn’t the complexity of preparation or presentation but rather the pure unpretentious flavors of the few ingredients it contains.
Hailing from the Limousin region of France clafoutis is typically made with un-pitted cherries. However, it’s a classic throughout all of France, and you will find each region and family has their favorite recipe each slightly different from the other.
So the question arises: can I call this recipe a clafoutis even though it’s made with pears? Traditionally the answer would be “no” as other fruit versions are referred to as flognarde. But nowadays the term clafoutis has come to encompass all fruits and there are even savory variations on the classic version.
However you choose to call it, the real joy of this dessert is how simple it is to make. Whatever fruits you send its direction, clafoutis receives them graciously and with open arms, transforming them into a soft, sweet and charmingly rustic dessert.
My version is not only gluten-free, it’s grain free as it’s made with almond flour. It’s also made with un-refined sugar and is low in sugar over-all, the sweetness coming primarily from the pears. Throw a few ingredients in the blender, into the oven it goes, and you’ll soon be greeted by the ambrosial smell of tender sweet pears.
Served warm from the oven, this softly slumped dessert is luscious but quite light from the tender pieces of juicy pears. It’s a comforting dessert, the edible equivalent of a well-worn pair of cozy slippers, a little rough around the edges but altogether loveable et un vrai regal (and a real treat)!
Have you ever had clafoutis? What’s your favorite comforting dessert?
Serves Serves 6 to 8
20 minPrep Time
40 minCook Time
- Coconut oil or unsalted butter, for baking dish
- 2-3 large Bosc pears, halved lengthwise, cored and sliced thinly
- 250g/ 1 cup coconut milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon Poire Williams (pear brandy or you can also use cognac)
- 50g/ 1/4 cup unrefined sugar (I used coconut sugar)
- 60g/ 1/2 cup almond flour (or regular flour if gluten-free is not a concern for you)
- ¼ tsp of fine sea salt
- 28g/ ¼ cup sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet or 10-inch ceramic tart dish or 9 1/2-inch pie plate with butter or coconut oil; set aside.
- Fan cut pears over bottom of prepared dish.
- Blend coconut milk, eggs, vanilla, pear brandy, coconut sugar, almond flour, and salt in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute. The mixture will be thin, like crêpe batter.
- Pour batter over pears. Sprinkle sliced almonds over batter.
- Bake until golden and set, about 35-40 minutes.
- Let stand 10-15 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.
Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Paleo, Vegetarian