Cherry Clafouti

James Beard

Author and Educator

This simple, extraordinarily good summer dessert is even more welcome in winter or spring, made with frozen cherries. If cherries aren't in season, you can make it with fresh prunes, plums, nectarines, or pears, in the same way.


  • 3 to 4 cups Bing or other sweet cherries, washed and pitted
  • 2/3 cup plus 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kirsch or Cognac
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange rind
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Butter and lightly flour a 9-inch cake pan, pie pan, or springform pan.

Toss cherries with the kirsch or cognac and about 2 tablespoons sugar and let them stand for about 5 to 10 minutes, then drain. (If they’re frozen, let the cherries thaw before using.) Cream the butter very well and work in 2/3 cup sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add orange rind and flour. Blend very well, then add vanilla. Put a few spoonfuls of batter in the pan to cover the bottom, and distribute the cherries evenly over it. Spoon the rest of the batter over the fruit and smooth to cover. Sprinkle the top with remaining 1 or 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375ºF and continue baking about 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let it cool just to warm and cut in wedges to serve, accompanied by sweetened whipped cream.


One 9-inch cake