Colette’s Cherry Clafoutis

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The great French writer, Colette, passionately pursued the subject of love, but she was also known for her lifelong affair with food.  Her novels and essays are filled with sensual descriptions of culinary delights.  “Je suis gourmette, gourmande, gloutonne,” she once declared, and as old age approached she celebrated her incipient plumpness. Colette and her characters were unpretentious eaters, often satisfied with a simple tomato salad, hearty cassoulet (Gigi), roast chicken or plate of bread and cheese. Many of the meals in her books conclude with fresh fruit, claufoutis (or what she prefered to call a “simple cake”).  Clafoutis can be made with any soft fruit – damsons, apricots, blueberries, raspberries – but cherries add a piquant sweetness to the dessert’s buttery batter.

Cherry Clafoutis



  • 450g/1lb ripe cherries, stones removed
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp kirsch (optional)


  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
  • 50g whole milk
  • 75g whipping cream
  • pinch salt


  1. Gently mix together the cherries, sugar and kirsch and leave to macerate for two hours

  2. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a baking dish with butter and sprinkle with sugar.

  3. For the batter, heat the butter in a small pan until it turns a pale nutty brown. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside

  4. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until creamy

  5. Add the flour, whisk until smooth, then slowly add the milk, cream, salt and butter

  6. Mix the macerated cherries and their juice into the batter and pour into the baking dish

  7. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is slightly rised and the blade of a knife comes out clean

  8. To finish, sprinkle with caster sugar and serve warm

Photo credit: scazza_ on VisualHunt /  CC BY-NC-ND