Cherry & Pistachio Clafoutis
Clafoutis is a French dessert that falls somewhere between soufflé and flan, with a light texture that’s sturdy enough to slice. I learned the classic version— with fruit at the base and caramelized sugar around the edges of the pan— while cooking in France. To make my custard taste more complex, I use tangy crème fraîche instead of cream and add dried fruit for its natural sweetness. Cherries are the most iconic fruit for clafoutis. Here, tangy sumac highlights their tart side, Sichuan peppercorns give them a little zing, and mellow, floral chamomile balances those bold flavors. A cherry pitter comes in handy here, but a chopstick or metal straw can poke out the pits too.
Cherry & Pistachio Clafoutis
Makes 1-9 inch dish, or about 6 ramekins
Lior Lev Sercarz, from "Mastering Spice" by Lior Lev Sercarz
3⁄4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns (1 gram)
1 teaspoon sumac (3 grams)
2 teaspoons dried chamomile flowers (2 grams)
3⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, preferably Vietnamese (2 grams)
2 tablespoons salted butter (29 grams), plus more for the pan/ramekins
1 pound pitted cherries (454 grams)
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar (13 grams)
3⁄4 cup shelled roasted unsalted pistachios (96 grams)
1 cup pitted prunes (184 grams)
1⁄2 cup rum (113 grams)
1 cup whole milk (224 grams)
1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream (284 grams)
1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (3 grams)
1 1⁄4 cups granulated sugar (125 grams), plus more for the pan
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour (71 grams)
3 large eggs (180 grams), at room temperature
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
The Spice Blend
For the Spice Blend
Finely grind the peppercorns, sumac, and chamomile together and immediately mix with the cinnamon.
For the Clafoutis
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl to coat the bottom of the pan and then add the cherries and brown sugar. Stir until the cherries are evenly coated. Add one-third of the spice blend, stir to evenly coat the cherries, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, turning the cherries occasionally, until softened a bit and evenly browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the prunes and pistachios and stir well. Add the rum and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid evaporates and glazes the fruit, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature while making the custard.
Whisk the milk, crème fraîche, vanilla, and the remaining spice blend in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk the granulated sugar and flour together in a large bowl; add the eggs and whisk until well blended. Make sure there are no lumps of flour remaining. While whisking, add the milk mixture in a slow, steady stream.
Generously butter the sides and bottom of a 9-inch-round, 2-inch-deep cake pan or ramekins. Coat with granulated sugar, tapping out the excess. Add the cooked fruit and nuts. Put the cake pan or ramekins on a half sheet pan and carefully pour the custard mixture over the fruit.
Bake until just set, 35 to 40 minutes (timing will be about 30 minutes for ramekins). Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Cool slightly and serve warm or room temperature.