December 15, 2009

Oh My Darling: Clementine Clafoutis

For a dinner party last night, I decided to continue the French cooking trend and try my hand at a clafoutis, which is essentially a fruit tart (traditionally with cherries) made with a custardy batter (sounds like custody battle) consisting of egg, milk, yogurt, sugar, and flour.

Because I'm leaving for the holiday break in about a week, I'm anxious to use up as much of the produce I have in the house as possible. As a result, I chose to make a clementine clafoutis with seven clementines that needed a home, loosely following Mark Bittman's clementine clafoutis recipe.

The clafoutis turned out to taste great, but, to be totally honest, clementines are awkward to cut around and make for a less than smooth eating experience. The clafoutis batter is deliciously smooth and creamy when cooked, but the clementines remain kind of...clementine-y, which is to say tough. So if you're looking for a great taste but are open to a kind of lovably imperfect experience, clementine clafoutis is worth trying.

Side note: I tried a clafoutis earlier this month with apples that was perfect, so I guess my advice is that it all depends on the type of fruit you use and how well it softens up in the oven (the softer, the better).

Clementine Clafoutis
  • Six or seven clementines, peeled, sectioned, and de-seeded
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 3/4 cup yogurt (I used nonfat plain)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Tsp. vanilla
  • Tbsp. clementine zest
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once you've spent the time peeling, sectioning, and deseeding (aka manhandling) the clementines, arrange them in a buttered and floured baking dish in any way you see fit.

2. Beat the eggs until they froth, then add the sugar and mix well. Gently, add the milk, yogurt, and vanilla. Last, add the flour and salt, and stir until the ingredients are just combined. Pour the mixture over the clementines, and put it in the oven for about 30 minutes.

3. Once a knife inserted in the middle of the clafoutis comes out clean and the top is evenly browned, remove the clafoutis from the oven and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes before serving.

4. Enjoy!

I'll admit that peeling and sectioning seven clementines is time-consuming (and helps you find cuts you didn't know you had), but the orangey flavor of the clafoutis is worth it. Imperfect? Yes. Delicious? Also yes.

I'm trying a traditional clafoutis once cherry season rolls around. Now, check out the professional, making a clafoutis look easy...well, easier:


  1. Kitt, it looks like from your pictures that you are leaving the clear skin and white pith on the clementines. I'm not entirely sure about the skin (membrane?) but the pith becomes tough and bitter when heated, so you might have a tastier dish if you remove them. Just my two cents!

    If you're looking to experiment with desserts, allow me to recommend kuchen! I love the following recipe from the VeganYumYum blog and have made it with a variety of fruits:

    Reckoning with my anti-monoculture agriculture belief, I use no-fat Greek yogurt or goat's milk yogurt in place of it's soy counterpart.

  2. That's a great idea! I looked at the Bittman video once more, and he leaves the skin and some of the pith on, too (it's so hard to remove it all!), so I have a feeling it's just one of those things you have to put up with. But I like the idea of maybe removing the skin (next time I have an extra half hour and an extra amount of patience, I'll try it!

    I'll definitely give kuchen a try, and thanks for the comment.