Last Updated on March 20, 2021
Clafoutis with Figs and Rum – a twist on a Classic French Pudding.
I spent most summers during my teenage years in France, right in the heart of The Alps, staying with a French family. Life was a hazy sunshine-filled time with plenty of fresh air, moutain hikes and swims in the lake. But, what I remember best was eating. A whole different experience to back in the UK, here meals were always celebratory, lingering and delicious, cooked by grand-mere and devoured by all. While the food for the most part was a revelation, puddings, though, were few and far between. Usually limited to fresh, seasonal fruit or wonderful shop-bought patisserie, the only sweet dishes my French family made from scratch were Creme Anglais (custard) and one that Anne, my penpal, had learnt on her UK visits to my family. It was apple crumble – which her own family devoured. Meanwhile, I savoured the madeleines, the choux pastries and the macarons that we bought in nearby Chambery. It wasn’t until more recently in the Limousin region of France that I discovered a real French pudding. Clafoutis, made with local cherries, eggs and milk. It’s actually really a French batter pudding – a bit like a sweet Yorkshire pudding and cherries are the traditional fruit to use – with the stones left in to lend an almond note to the batter.
I’ve made a number of different fruit clafoutis recipes – from cherries to plums and apricots. Traditionally you would add fresh fruit, but I love making this recipe as a rather luxurious ‘standby’ dessert using fruit in alcohol from Opies. It works brilliantly well with their cherries in Kirsch but this time I had a jar of Opies figs in rum left over from Christmas to use – and decided to try those in the clafoutis.
The trick to making an excellent clafoutis is to use really fresh eggs and good quality milk. I didn’t have full-fat milk so I actually used 1/3 double cream to 2/3 semi-skimmed milk which worked very well. It doesn’t need baking powder – it should rise in the same way that a Yorkshire pudding does, though that requires enough patience to not open the oven while the mixture is cooking. It’s a dish that looks prettiest when it first comes out of the oven but actually tastes delicious when it’s been allowed to cool a little. And, I’m pleased to report that it works very well with the Opies figs in rum.
The only difference in the recipe between using fruits in alcohol and fresh fruit is that if you are using fresh fruit, once you’ve buttered and sugared your serving dish, you should lay the fruit on the base of the dish, sprinkle a little sugar over them and put them in the oven for 10 minutes at 180C to soften them a little bit.
I like to serve clafoutis with fresh cream or creme fraiche. You might also enjoy it with vanilla ice cream. Or, just eat it as it comes! Some people will pour over a little liqueur – but if you are using fruits in alcohol, you really don’t need to do so.
Clafoutis won’t freeze well and nor can you get a good result by reheating it. But, it’s very easy to scale up or down so that you make just the right amount (plus a little for the chef!)
Essentially, you preheat the oven and make up a simple batter which you leave to rest for at least 20 minutes. If you want to make the batter in advance, you can keep it in the fridge till you are ready to cook, then let it come to room temperature.
Take a pretty baking dish and grease it well with butter. Then, sprinkle over a good coating of sugar before laying out the figs neatly spaced.
Half an hour before you are ready to eat, pour the batter over the fruit and put it in a pre-heated oven to bake.
When it’s puffed up and golden, take it out, dust it with icing sugar and allow it to stand for 5-10 minutes so that it’s somewhere between hot and lukewarm.
Here’s a printable version of the recipe so you can make it at home.
- 15cm diameter baking dish (approximately
- 2 large eggs
- 30 g plain flour
- 30 g sugar
- 150 ml milk or a mixture of milk and cream
- 1/4 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/2 jar Opies figs in Luxardo dark rum about 150g of fruit without the syrup
- 2 tsp sugar to coat the baking dish
- 2 tsp butter to coat the baking dish
- cream or creme fraiche to serve
- Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, stir through the sugar and make a well in the centre
- Break the eggs into the well and using a fork, beat the eggs, pulling the flour into the batter
- Add the milk little by little, whisking with a balloon whisk till you have a smooth batter
- Cover the batter and put to rest in the fridge for at least 20 minutes
- Prepare the figs by halving them
- Prepare the baking dish by greasing it well with the butter, then sprinkling over the 2 tsp of sugar
- When you are ready to bake your clafoutis, pre-heat the oven to 180c (170c fan oven)
- Dot the figs around the baking dish
- Pour over the batter and put in the oven
- Leave it undisturbed for at least 20 minutes, then check and adjust the oven temperature down if the clafoutis is starting to burn.
- Cook for around 30 minutes till the batter is set
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-20 minutes, till warm rather than hot
- Serve with cream or creme fraiche. For a really decadent dessert, stir some of the rum syrup through the cream before serving
Looking for something different – do try our Malva Pudding recipe – it’s a classic South African dessert with apricots in a luscious sponge and we’re sure you’ll love it!