Cherry Clafouti | CUESA

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Cherry Clafouti


Peggy Knickerbocker and Christopher Hirsheimer, The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market Cookbook

This year’s rains hit California ’s cherry orchards hard. During blossoming and fruiting came deluge after deluge. When flowers were ready to be fertilized, wet pollen could not travel. Cold weather and cloudy skies reduced productivity and slowed ripening. Then the skins of some almost-ready cherries split last week as the fruit beneath them swelled with water from what we hope was the last rain of spring. Tardy and scarcer than orchardists hoped, cherries have hit the market — and they’re delicious. The farmers that sell at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market grow over 35 varieties of the small stone fruits and you’ll likely find one of them in the market until late June or even early July this year. Cherries are a perfect snack fruit for out-of-hand eating, but are also great in all sorts of dishes. Below is a cherry dessert recipe and some tips on freezing cherries so you can enjoy them later in the year.

Most commonly described as a flan or custard, this classic dessert from the Limousin region of France is typically made with unpitted cherries, as it is here. Be sure to warn your guests before they take their first bite. You can use other ripe summer fruits, such as figs, grapes or pitted plums, in place of the cherries.

Serves 6 to 8


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or splash of Kirsch
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
Pinch of salt
¾ to 1 pound red or yellow cherries, stemmed


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a shallow 10-inch round baking dish with the butter and set the dish on a rimmed baking sheet.

  2. In a bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, eggs, and lemon zest until blended. Add the cream and vanilla or kirsch and whisk again until blended. Then add the flour and salt and whisk until the batter is frothy.
  3. Pour about one-third of the batter into the prepared dish. Scatter the cherries on top in an even layer. Pour the rest of the batter over the cherries, being careful not to dislodge them.
  4. Bake the clafouti until golden and puffed and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Serve at once, dusted with a little confectioner’s sugar, or, if serving later at room temperature, transfer to a wire rack and allow it to cool. Dust with confectioner’s sugar just before serving. Remind your guests about the cherry pits before serving.

To freeze cherries:
Wash in ice water, halve and pit, lay flat on a baking sheet, and put in the freezer. Once the cherries are frozen, pack them in plastic bags and stick them back in the freezer.

Cherries can also be halved, pitted, packed in a syrup containing lemon and then frozen if you want them to retain their color.

Firm, dark colored varieties freeze best. Thawed cherries probably won’t be very good for out-of-hand eating but are great for cooking.



CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »