klah-FOO-tee, the official pronunciation of this amazing dessert, in case you were wondering. But it’s not true, I made it up. I have no idea what the official pronunciation of this French beauty is, but that was a well-pondered guess, so it better be pretty accurate!
This dessert really took me by surprise – let me paint a picture… It was a Wednesday afternoon. I had finished work early and had a few hours to myself. I also had rhubarb in the fridge that was going on a week old – seriously sad times. And so, armed with a hot cup of tea and the fading light outside the kitchen window (not sure how that relates, but it sounds good?), I perused my recipe books for inspiring rhubarb recipes. But I didn’t get very far. I basically gave up and decided to make the first recipe I found, but it’s a good thing I did!
I’d never eaten clafoutis before, partly because I really had no idea what it was, and partly because it’s French (no, I’m not kidding! You probably know by now that I have an ongoing disagreement with French cookery, but it’s not just for laughs – it really does put me off baking French things!). But I had all the ingredients in the cupboard (such a joy!) so figured I might as well find out what this mysterious French dish was (even if it did kill me)!
Turns out that it didn’t kill me. On the contrary, clafoutis has to be one of the easiest, quickest and yummiest desserts I’ve ever made! But it’s hard to describe what it’s really like. It’s like a cake with only a touch of flour; like a massively thick pancake; like a baked custard with fruit. It’s all of these wonderful things – and I understand if that still doesn’t pique your interest, but I would still highly recommend it (if nothing else, it’s enigmatic – an enigmatic dessert, imagine! Oh wait, you don’t have to). And if you still need one more reason to try it, here it is: it looks super impressive when topped with icing sugar and a huge dollop of cream – the important thing is that it makes you look like an amazing cook!
From Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage
Serves 8-10 | Allow 1 hour
1 bunch rhubarb, trimmed
juice of 1 orange
2 tbsp honey
1 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup plain flour
1 cup full-cream milk
zest of 1 orange
pinch cinnamon (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 200°C fan-forced.
- Cut the rhubarb into 2-inch lengths and place in a ceramic dish or baking pan with the orange juice and honey. Toss well and bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the rhubarb is tender and the juice is beginning to caramelise.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C fan-forced. Grease a 10-inch/25 cm round baking dish or similar and set aside.
- Make the batter: combine sugar, flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the lightly beaten eggs. Gradually stir in the flour from the sides, until the mixture comes together, then beat in the milk, a little at a time, mixing well.
- Stir in orange zest and cinnamon.
- Arrange the rhubarb in the buttered dish and pour the batter over. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden and puffy on top – it will feel slightly firm to touch, but will still be fragile. Serve immediately!
- Clafoutis can be made with different fruits such as plums, cherries, berries, pears etc.
- If you don’t like orange or cinnamon, feel free to omit these ingredients – but try replacing them with other flavours like lemon, honey, nutmeg, cloves etc., as they give a nice flavour to the dish.
- You’ll see in my photo that the top of the clafoutis looks rather uncooked – that’s because I baked it in a springform cake tin and most of the clafoutis escaped out the side! So don’t use a springform cake tin!! And the clafoutis should look lovely and golden on top when it’s done!
- Clafoutis can be successfully frozen! Just make sure you wrap it tightly or use an airtight bag. Defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat in a low oven (best served warm!!).