When you have fresh berries around, a clafoutis is a great way to showcase them. A clafoutis is a French dessert that is somewhere between a cake and a custard. It is just firm enough to slice easily, as cakes are, but it is based heavily in milk and egg, and has a lovely custard flavor and texture to it. The vanilla-scented batter is a great backdrop to all kinds of fruit. Pear Clafoutis is one of my favorite variations, but I’ve used blackberries for this batch.
Fresh blackberries go very well with the vanilla custard flavor of this dish. They’re bright and have a nice sweetness to them – and I have to admit that their beautiful purple color is offset very well by the pale clafoutis. You can use frozen berries, but your clafoutis will take a few minutes longer to bake and the berries might loose a little bit of their texture as the dish bakes. I think that fresh berries are your best bet, and you can easily mix in some blueberries or raspberries in this, too.
This clafoutis batter mixes up very easily in just one bowl (or in the food processor) in about 2 minutes. It has very simple ingredients, so as long as you have berries on hand, you can quite literally start putting this together on a moment’s notice. When you pull it out of the oven, you’ll notice that it rises like a souffle, thanks to the number of eggs in the batter. It will fall slightly as it cools, so don’t worry if yours doesn’t remain puffed up after it finishes cooking.
You can serve this dish warm or chilled, it is very tasty both ways. It can be made a day in advance, but it really looks and tastes its best within a day of making it, so I would try to make it the day you will be serving it if possible.
12-oz fresh blackberries, about 2 cups
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp sugar, divided
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk (low fat is fine)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 425F and lightly grease a 10-inch round baking/tart dish (a deep 9-inch pie plate will work, too).
Place berries in a single layer at the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs, milk, vanilla and nutmeg until very smooth. This can also be done in the food processor. Pour mixture on top of berries and sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp sugar.
Bake for 15 minutes at 425F. Turn oven down to 350F and bake an additional 20-25 minutes, until clafoutis is golden brown and a tester (sharp knife) inserted into the center comes out clean.
Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.