Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries in Limousin
Sometimes life really does seem to be a bowl of cherries in Limousin, this hidden corner of rural France! It's June, the sun is shining, wild flowers line the country lanes, the woodlands and fields are green and the cherries are ripe. What could be better? This really is living the good life!
June is the time to make that most traditional Limousin dessert, Clafouti (or clafoutis). It is so simple - just a sweet batter poured over a layer of cherries or other fruit and baked in the oven. You can eat this dish as a hot pudding, or a cold dessert. Very similar to the Limousin flognarde, both calfouti and flognarde can be made with different fruits.
Please note: All content and images, unless otherwise attributed, are the property of B L Walton and must not be reused without written permission
Cherries are Good for Your Health
"There's a significant body of evidence suggesting that cherries are one of the most nutritious fruits you can eat," said panel member Russel J. Reiter, Ph.D., a prominent nutrition researcher at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.
Along with all red fruits recent studies have shown that cherries are good for you. They contain antioxidants but cherries contain a unique combination of antioxidants that are not found in other fruits and they may have anti-inflammatory benefits which can give some relief from joint pain.Studies have also found that cherries can lower blood level cholesterol.
The Cherry Harvest in Limousin
Limousin, known as the bread basket of France, is famous for its fruit trees and especially for the Limousin Apple. We are blessed with a wonderful climate, warm to hot in summer but with enough rain to make everything, including the weeds, grow like mad! Not only are apples and pears produced commercially, but every garden has an array of trees that provide fruits or nuts from May to November.
The first tree to fruit is the Cherry and the earliest varieties ripen at the end of May. Picking can continue right through June. After that we have plums, peaches, apples, pears figs and then, finally, the medlar which is harvested after the first frost of November.
Cherry clafoutis ingredients
- Enough cherries to cover the base of a shallow, ovenproof dish
- 600ml /1 pint of milk
- 175g/6oz plain flour
- 100g/4oz sugar (reserve some of this to sprinkle on the top)
- 4 eggs
- Vanilla essence (optional)
- Butter to grease the dish
- Lightly grease the dish and cover the base with a layer of cherries. Here the local ladies don't stone the fruit - you have to do that as you eat the clafouti!
- Put the flour and sugar into a bowl (reserve a dessert spoon of sugar for later).
- Make a well in the flour mixture and add the eggs. Begin to incorporate the eggs into the flour by mixing from the centre and letting the flour fall in from the sides of the bowl. As the mixture thickens, gradually add the milk. As with all batter mixtures, the aim is to make a smooth batter without lumps. If lumps do arrive, squash them against the side of the bowl and, if all else fails, sieve the mixture to remove any lumps!
- Pour this batter over the cherries
- Bake in a moderate oven, 375°F, 190]c or gas mark 5 for about 45 minutes to an hour. The dish is cooked when the centre is just firm when you press lightly with your finger tips. The top should be golden brown and the edges rise slightly.
How to serve clafouti
Sprinkle over the rest of the sugar, or you can dust with icing sugar, then serve clafouti as a hot pudding, a cold dessert or as a cake. Hot or cold it goes well with cream, crème fraiche or custard (the French call custard Crème Anglais). It also goes well with ice cream, or just eat it by itself.
You can decorate it with fresh cherries or with sugared cherries or flowers. Sugared flowers are easy to make and look pretty on the plate.
These photos were taken in our gardens at Les Trois Chenes Bed and Breakfast in Videix, Limousin, France.
Cherry clafoutis served with cream
Know Your Cherries
Types of cherry
There are over 1000 types of cherries, but they fall into two categories: sweet and sour, although there are also dual purpose cherries. I don't know what type of cherries we have in Limousin, but I do know that they are very different! Our neighbours' tree in the picture is much earlier than ours, but in our garden we have a yellow cherry that grows very big and fat. We also have a small, black cherry that has sour fruit - we leave that tree to the birds! The tart black cherries are most often associated with clafouti and these sour cherries are higher in vitamin C and beta carotene than the sweeter varieties.
How to pick cherries
Whether you buy your cherries or pick them yourself make sure your cherries are: firm but not hard, shiny, firm and plump with fresh stems and unbroken skin. They should not have soft, brown patches or show any signs of mould. If you intend to keep your cherries for any length of time, leave the stem on the cherry as it helps to preserve them.
Frozen cherries are ideal for making Clafouti. Keep the stems on and spread cherries in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze until firm and then pack into plastic freezer bags. Remove as much of the air as possible and fasten tightly. Leave in the freezer until needed.
Other methods of preserving fruit include pickling, making jam, bottling in alcohol or syrup.
Cherry Clafoutis gifts - nice as pie!
- LesTroisChenes: Home: Zazzle.com Store
LesTroisChenes designs and photos of Food & France. Love France and all things French? Love French Food? Take a look at my on-line store for a range of gifts and products from aprons to T-shirts. You can add your own text to personalize these g
Is this cherry clafoutis recipe a winner?
Variations on a fruit clafouti theme
- Clafouti with dark chololate and tahini
- Clafoutis with apples
- Clafouti with plums
- Try flognarde, another Limousin speciality, and very similar to Clafoutis, but with apples.
How to find our gorgeous, Limousin cherries
Find out more about Limousin
- Limousin: a favourite holiday destination for families
Ever been on holiday to somewhere you liked so much that you just wanted to stay there forever? That happened to me with Limousin. It was love at first sight. I am not well travelled, but in my youth I loved...
- Rochechouart and the land of the meteorite
The historic city of Rochechouart, Limousin, France, is dominated by a magnificent chateau, now a centre for modern art. The second most prominent building is the church, famous for its twisted spire. The surrounding countryside is ideal for fishing,
- Videix, A Village in S W France in Words and Pictures
Videix Lake - a picture in autumn Nowhere could be less important, less well-known or less ostentatious than Videix but the minute we saw our stone built farmhouse in this unassuming village, we fell in love...
- Painting Limousin
Limousin is deservedly celebrated by those who know it for its marvellous landscape, its castles and lakes, wonderful traditional cuisine and its abundant wildlife. You might even have heard of Limousin beef...
- France - Guide to the Limousin region - walking, golf, fishing, watersports, attractions, culture an
Holiday Guide to the Limousin region of SW France. Leisure and sports activities, guide to the lakes and rivers, fishing information, golf courses, theme parks, and links to other Limousin websites.
- Limousin (region) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A good introduction to this region of France
Finding Your Way Around Limousin
Find your perfect pie dish for clafoutis in my pie dish and pie bird shopping guide
- Best Christmas Gift Ideas - Pie Dishes, Pie Birds and Bakeware
Does the cook in your life have a passion for pies? Do you love a tasty pie? Are you looking for gifts for cooks that can be used and treasured for many yea
Making cherry clafoutis - another clafoutis recipe
Do leave me a message - I'd love to hear from you
Les Trois Chenes (author) from Videix, Limousin, South West France on June 02, 2015:
I'm afraid I would just wolf it down! Thanks for your message, amazingbaker.
amazingbaker on June 01, 2015:
its so beautiful i cant even explain it i want to cuddle with the pie forever and ever
Les Trois Chenes (author) from Videix, Limousin, South West France on January 22, 2012:
Many thanks for leaving a message. Cherries are an important crop here in Limousin and they are gorgeous, aren't they. I always love it when the things you like turn out to be good for you too!
Derdriu on January 21, 2012:
Les Trois Chênes, What a delectable, delicious, delightful dessert! Cherries are among my favorites too. So it's great learning fun to read about one of Limousin's scrumptious food crops. In particular, I like the way that you situate the cherry within the wider cultural context, and especially in terms of such health concerns as presence of antioxidants and control of cholesterol.
Thank you for sharing, and with best 2012 wishes to you and your family,
Les Trois Chenes (author) from Videix, Limousin, South West France on October 26, 2011:
Rainbowruffles, thanks so much for leaving this link, I'm going to have a look!
Rainbowruffles on October 26, 2011:
I love cherries in desserts. Below is one of my favorite recipes, "Cherry Yum Yum". Its absolutely delicious!
Ben Zoltak from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on January 05, 2011:
Pardoname mon soeur!
(my Francais is pretty petite)
Les Trois Chenes (author) from Videix, Limousin, South West France on December 03, 2010:
Thanks, Ben, hope they enjoy it. I always like recipes that always workout! Only one small point, je suis une 'soeur'. Send them down to Limousin next time!
Ben Zoltak from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on December 02, 2010:
Voted up, awesome and beautiful!!! Well done mon frere! This will be the secret recipe to celebrate with my father in law and his girlfriend who just got back from Paris and Champagne. Looks absolutely great, delicious, I might try with black cherries (supposed to be good for my gought, haha) thank you for this again.
I also enjoyed your map, it's good to see where people are coming from.
I wish my printer worked so I could print this write now, ah well such is life.
suny51 on July 12, 2010:
This is such a wonderful article about cherries and the pictures make it more beautiful,there is every thing that some one would want to know about cherries.Thanks for sharing.
Carolyn Jung on June 29, 2010:
Thanks for the reminder about freezing some of these lovelies. Cherry season never lasts as long as I wish. So having a stash in the freezer for the months to come is like having a million dollars in the bank. Well, almost.... ;)
Leslie Jo Barra on June 25, 2010:
Interesting. I am looking for something to make with the cherries I bought. Your recipe sounds great!
Om Paramapoonya on June 20, 2010:
Oops! I meant to say "I've got to bookmark this hub" in my earlier comment. hehehe :)
Les Trois Chenes (author) from Videix, Limousin, South West France on June 20, 2010:
Merci à vous Om Paramapoonya! The finished Clafouti also freezes well - I forgot to add this.
Om Paramapoonya on June 19, 2010:
I've got to this hub! Cherries are one of my favorite fruits, and your recipe just sounds so delightful. Merci beaucoup! :)