Seasonal Sweets: Chocolate Cardamon Plums 'Clafoutis'


The 1st American edition of Larousse Gastronomique, published in 1961, describes clafoutis as a custard-like breakfast or dessert from the Limousine region in France. Specifically, it's "a kind of a fruit pastry or thick fruit pancake, made usually with black cherries."

Traditionally, a classic clafoutis is baked with un-pitted whole cherries. (The pits are said to add a flavor similar to almonds.) Cherry season has come and gone, but clafoutis is often baked with other stone fruit, berries, or seasonal fruit and referred to as Flangnarde or Flongnarde. (The term clafoutis is reserved exclusively to the dish made with cherries.)


When baking clafoutis, I often use Julia Child's two step baking method along with the recipe from her classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Child instructs you to pour part of the batter into the pan, bake for approximately ten minutes, then add the fruit and pour in the remainder of the batter before baking for an additional 45 minutes. While I understand the logic behind the two step baking technique, it's not really necessary.

Take this Chocolate Cardamon Plums Clafoutis recipe, which can be whisked together quickly as a no fuss dessert. I paired cardamon and chocolate with plums, but chocolate and cardamon will pair beautifully with cherries when they are back in season. Be warned: the batter will sink somewhat when coming out of the oven, but that's not a problem. Simply dust the cake with confectioners sugar and serve warm. Also try to use ripe but firm fruit. Overripe fruit will release more juices and will take longer to bake. In addition avoid overripe fruit for texture consistency's sake.