Clafoutis, the classic French fruit custard dessert, works beautifully when made with southern ingredients and turns into a very interesting Cornbread Clafoutis dessert. Still retaining its identity as an eggy custard baked over fruit, all we’ve done is swap the usual all-purpose flour with self-rising cornmeal mix and tangy buttermilk for the regular milk. Bake it like the French version over tart cherries and it’s fantastic. But, don’t stop there. Any seasonal fresh fruit can be used with this very versatile, uber-simple egg batter. Even thawed frozen or drained canned fruits work great.
This fall I’ve been loving a variation made with fresh peeled and chopped ripe pears. They beautifully perfume the custard. If you’re thinking that the custard must be weird and grainy because of the cornmeal, it’s not. It has texture, yes, but southern self-rising cornmeal mix is typically made with finely milled cornmeal plus just enough flour to take the edge off. The leavening and salt add a little flavor and maybe a little lift.
There’s an old classic easy southern fruit cobbler made with a thin “pour batter” that’s dumped over fruit in a casserole dish and baked. More like a rich pancake batter, that recipe contains fewer eggs and lots of butter. This one is like an eggy-custardy-cobbler made with no butter at all and lots of eggs. Sprinkle it with powdered sugar before serving. Serve warm in bowls with whipped cream, creme fraiche, or even a scoop of ice cream.
- 3 to 4 cups fresh cherries, peeled chopped pear or apples, apricot halves or peeled peach slices or thawed frozen fruits such as cherries, blueberries or blackberries or 2 cans (15 to 20 ounces each) fruit, drained, such as tart red cherries, apricot halves, or pineapple chunks
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk or a mixture of milk and plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional (good with cherries, apricots or peaches)
- Zest of one lemon, optional (good with apples, pears and berries)
- 3/4 cup self-rising cornmeal mix
- Powdered sugar for dusting over the top, optional
Preheat oven to 375F.
Generously butter a shallow 3-quart baking dish such as a 9 x 13 baking dish. Scatter the fruit over the bottom of the dish. Use enough so the bottom is fully covered in a single layer.
Whisk the eggs a medium mixing bowl. Whisk in the sugar, milk, extracts, and zest until smooth.
Add the cornmeal. Whisk until smooth. Pour the batter over the fruit.
Bake for 45 minutes until the top feels firm and is golden brown. Cool slightly and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Serve with whipped cream,creme fraiche, or ice cream. Use this simple clafoutis batter on any kind of fruit!