Chocolate Cherry Clafouti

I love cherries, and what can I say? I just love pairing them with chocolate. So today, I thought I’d bring you a more traditional cherry dessert that even the most timid bake-o-phobe could handle: a Chocolate Cherry Clafouti.

The clafouti (a.k.a. clafoutis) is a French dessert, that essentially, is like a pancake with a little more emphasis on the “cake” part of “pancake.” Its simple, light, fluffy, and meant to be whipped up quickly and eaten up just as fast. Traditionally, this treat is loaded with fruit, most often cherries, so in keeping with tradition, I’ve done just that. But since I couldn’t help myself, I chose to push this dessert a little bit in the chocolate direction, giving the cake batter itself some darker, chocolatey flavors.

One point of contention out there is how to present the cherries in the clafouti. Many prefer that the cherries be unpitted because it makes for easier eating. Others argue that cooking the cherries with the pits in enhances the flavor and imparts a subtle, almondy note that pairs nicely. I honestly couldn’t tell you if that’s true or not, but I can tell you which is easier as the one making the dessert: leave the pits in! As long as everyone eating knows the pits are there, they’ll bite with care and not break a tooth. Plus, am I the only one who enjoys spitting out cherry pits? You be lazy–make those eating your dessert do some work. 😉

Whatever side you choose on this debate, this is a delicious dessert that is sure to please any cherry-loving guest, and the best part is you don’t have to wait hours and hours for it–this is best almost immediately after it comes out of the oven so you can succumb to your temptation to just dive in face first while its still warm and poofed up from the oven, the cake ready to deflate and the cherries softened and ready to burst in your mouth. This was derived from Julia Child’s version in Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One, and as such, I’m submitting it to the 3rd Annual Julia Child Birthday Celebration, an event focused on food from Julia’s collection of great recipes.

  • 3+ cups cherries, stems removed, pits remain
  • 1.25 cups whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/8 cup flour
  • 1/8 cup cocoa powder
  • Optional: chocolate chips/chunks

Even if you’re not going to pit the cherries, unfortunately you do still have to stem them. This is certainly a much cleaner affair though than having to pop each one in half. Or if you’re so inclined, pit them now.

And now remember when I said this dessert is easy? Here’s how easy it is: add the milk, half of the sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, flour, and cocoa powder in the blender/food processor and blend it for a minute or two. I know, such great care and fine technique!

Now, grease a cake pan and preheat your oven to 350°F. Pour a very thin (like 1/4 inch tall) amount of the cake batter into the pan and set this over your stove top on medium heat for a minute or to. You should notice that this will cook and set that thin layer of batter, giving your clafouti an established bottom (preventing the cherries from just sinking right to the bottom of your cake pan later, for instance). Remove from heat.

Now, add in the cherries, spreading them out evenly and topping off with the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar. If you’re using chocolate chips/chunks, throw them in now as well (I used a mix of white and dark chocolate, thinking it would look good, but in the end, you couldn’t visibly distinguish it, so don’t bother trying to be stylish here). Finally, pour in the batter.

Now, simply transfer this to the oven and bake for about 1 hour. The clafouti should be puffed and browned when its done and you should be able to knife the center and have it come out clean.

Remove from the oven and promptly dust with some confectioner’s sugar and dig in while its hot. Enjoy!

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32 Responses to “Chocolate Cherry Clafouti”

  1. joanne at frutto della passione Says:

    Looks great Mike. I still haven’t tried one of these but it is on my *To Do* list!

  2. kittie Says:

    I think if I had seen a pic of this anywhere on the web I would immediately have known it to be a Mike creation!!

    Yummmm….!

  3. Angelica Says:

    Clafoutis make the best breakfast, and I’ll bet the chocolate makes it even more decadent. Delicious!

  4. Mary Says:

    What a delicious looking dessert! I have to admit I’ve never had clafoutis, but I’ve always been curious.

  5. Sandie Says:

    Do you men get together and plan these posts out? Kevin over at Closet Cooking just did a great post on Cherry Clafoutis as well, and I thought it looked great. Now I find yours with the addition of chocolate and I’m in clafoutis heaven! Mike – this looks incredible!

  6. Ivy Says:

    Mike I never made clafoutis before but it seems quite easy and delicious. One day I made pancakes and the last minute I decided to make a cherry sauce but as I was in a hurry did not pit them and although they tasted great I felt embarrassed to post about it. Suddenly I do not feel bad about this.

  7. Susan from Food Blogga Says:

    Finally, someone explained why you would leave the pits in the cherries. I’ve been wondering about that. Thanks, Mike! And thanks for the decadent clafouti. Everything is better with chocolate.

  8. sunita Says:

    Mike, that looks absolutely yummy..wouldn’t mind the pits at all 😛

  9. heather Says:

    i agree about the pit in cherries! have you ever tried noyau ice cream? i saw it at :pasty studio and gave it a whirl. it was delicious. i used apricot pits, though. but given your fondness for frozen desserts… this looks beautiful, too :)

  10. Deeba Says:

    Good heavens Mike…this is beautiful & ever so YUM! Have seen quite an explosion of clafoutis on blogs, but this is the first one with chocolate! Love the ease of the bake-a-phobe recipe…wonderful. And yes, would def leave the pits in. Deep inside me, I feel a good almond sense about that! No more cherries here, but maybe this shall appear next year on our dessert menu!!

  11. [eatingclub] vancouver || js Says:

    I’m for leaving the pits in. Pits in, pits in, pits in. Well, because I’m lazy and because you said it invokes an almond-y flavour. Yeah that one.

    Gorgeous-looking clafouti and great idea doing it with chocolate. It can go the way of a black forest clafouti. Yummy!

  12. noble pig Says:

    Holy Brooklyn Batman this sounds amazing…a chocolate clafoutis…yowzer! Hey but I am the total slacker when it comes to eating…I love to eat fast, making it possible to have second’s. I am a cherry pittin’ clafoutis eater…shame right? Don’t you have a cherry pitter? If you don’t you must, must get one!

  13. grace Says:

    i just saw kevin’s post, and i must confess that i’ve enjoyed yours more simply due to your inclusion of chocolate. i’m a sucker for chocolate. :)
    meanwhile, can i just say that i’m amazed by people who can tie cherry stems in a knot with their tongues. that’s talent. :)

  14. Lisa Says:

    Mike, thanks so much for joining in! Your clafouti looks scrumptious. The chocolatey batter is wonderful. I can almost smell the finished product. Another dish inspired by Julia Child!

  15. Jan Says:

    Oooh looks lovely Mike!
    Cherries and chocolate Mmmmm

  16. pam Says:

    Why, why, why? Why do you this to me with your chocolate and cherry desserts??? I am still finding cherry splatters from the frozen yogurt!!

  17. Nora Says:

    Cherry Clafouti is coming up everywhere in the blog world….oh how cruel to tempt me with my favourite fruit and such a simple yet delicious dessert. Watch out Mike, cherry season is slowly approaching in Sydney (it’s still $14-19/kg right now)…I’ll be in full cherry swing soon :-)

  18. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) Says:

    I’m sure Julia would have loved this. I think the dark color of the chocolate is amazing.

  19. Kevin Says:

    Great looking cherry clafouti! I really like the chocolate version!

  20. Aparna Says:

    Chocolate and cherries.
    I think its criminal, Mike, how you keep cooking all these beautiful desserts and we get to see only the pictures.:(

  21. Rebecca (Foodie With Family) Says:

    Mike- My hostmother used to make cherry clafoutis weekly. I remember being aghast that I had to spit cherry pits IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. Ah well, I got used to it quickly because they were delicious!

    Your chocolate cherry clafoutis looks merveilleuse!

  22. Hélène Says:

    I would dive into this dessert Mike. Can’t believe people are still buying desserts.

  23. the caked crusader Says:

    Now that is a photo to tingle the taste buds – one word: yum!

  24. Bellini Valli Says:

    I agree with Grace and am a sucker for chocolate…and cherries pits or not:D

  25. katie Says:

    You are a bad boy, Mike! Very, very bad….
    Putting chocolate in the cherry clafouti? Now all I have to do is figure out how to make it without the heavenly smell getting out of the oven… So mon mari won’t know I’ve made it and I can sneak it all myself.
    Outside, of course, so I can spit pits at will!

  26. White On Rice Couple Says:

    Funny, while reading your second paragraph, I was just thinking to myself…I’d rather leave the pits in, saves a step! Then you said it for me. Great minds think alike! One extra point for the pit side!
    You can’t get any better than this extra chocolately cherry clafouti!

    BTW- two more varieties of dragon fruit on the way! Purple and pink !

  27. Christine Says:

    This is one great looking clafoutis. I’ve made many of them and never once thought of using chocolate. Silly me! And about leaving the pits in – I’ve heard that it’s done that way in France so the cherry juice won’t leak into the batter, putting a stain on the presentation, especially if one uses the darker bing cherries.

  28. Lori Lynn Says:

    That looks fabulous! I like the food processor method.
    Chocolate and cherries, just perfect! Nice way to celebrate Julia, too!

  29. Kosub Says:

    I had never tried clafouti, but I used your recipe, bing cherries and the chocolate chips. It was absolutely delicious! Thanks for the great recipe, Mike!

  30. Kay Says:

    I’m about to try it. I’ve tried making a chocolate cherry clafouti in the past and it wasn’t out of this world, but then I didn’t put in any choc chips, just cocoa. This time I’ll put in the cocoa.
    I use Julia’s recipe also. I do soak the cherries in the kirsch (they are soaking as I type).
    I have a stupendous peach clafouti; I did a few things to Julia’s recipe and it gets rave reviews.
    Hmmm, maybe I should submit it to whatever you are speaking of, hee hee. Nah, that is OK, I won’t give your clafouti recipe a competition.
    I am looking forward to seeing how it is. The picture is whetting my tastebuds.

  31. Dedel Says:

    Hi, aajay from FK forum. Great Blog site. I recently read a blog and rcpiee for a savory clafouti with asparagus, I think. Naturally, I’ve forgotten where I saw it. I did once make a clafouti but thought the texture was kind of strange not custard but not cakey either. I used Trader Joe’s Morello cherries in a jar. BTW, there are cherry pitters available which work quite well (can be used for olives too) and are not expensive. I have a gadget I bought at a yard sale which looks like a very large garlic press or a very small potato ricer. There is spoke on one handle and a little depression on the other. You put the olive or cherry in the depression and press the spoke into it and the pit comes out neatly thru a hole in the depression. Does any of this make sense?. If I had any idea how to send a photo I would do so. Anyway, good luck with your blog.

  32. Ravi Says:

    Had to try these they looked so cute.First, the creheies I used a large pastry tip to take out the pit and it worked like a charm. Keeping the stems on took a little work, but I did a few anyway. After a few tries and red fingers, I think it worked best by making a large X on the bottom of the cherry and splitting it so you can take out the seed hence, the red fingers because you have to kind of pry the pit out. It is easier working with softer cherries.Second, I ended up with 36 mini muffins maybe your mini muffin pan is bigger than mine? Anyway, that was a nice surprise because I could share more!I did add 1 tsp of almond extract and just 1 tsp of vanilla extract love that almond flavor.Everyone loved them!! Thanks.

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