Someday, a clafoutis.

Every year at about this time, pictures of cherry clafoutis start to crowd the pages of my favorite magazines and blogs. Cherry clafoutis is just the kind of thing I would make, I always think, high on myself and my second cup of coffee. Rustic but photogenic, sweet but not too sweet, a chance to get a little handsy with the local produce. Nothing could be more up my alley. I am the very essence of a cherry clafoutis baker.

I have never baked a cherry clafoutis.

I have bought cherries with the promise of clafoutis ripe and lusty in my mind, washed them in a colander and set them in front of a sunny window. I have prohibited my daughters from eating the cherries because the cherries are For the Clafoutis! I can’t say for sure, but I may have pitted a cherry or two for the express purpose of tossing them, devil may care, into a baking dish soon to be brimming with lush clafoutis batter. I have peered over the precipice at the mighty clafoutis. But I have not spread my arms and let the wind push at my back, launching me belly and soul over the edge.

I don’t know why. Do I shy away from the work of pitting the cherries, vaguely romantic at first with its blood-stained fingers and whispers of generations past, but quickly dissolving into drudgery? Do I worry that the result will disappoint, leaving me unsatisfied and gunning once again for the next new thing? Do I wonder, just a little, whether I’m not such a natural-born baker after all — and would I rather walk away than know for sure? Or am I more concerned that I am, in fact, on the cusp of fulfilling my potential, and that it will prove to be too much, or not enough?

I have never baked a cherry clafoutis. There are a lot of things that I have never done, and sometimes the thought of it starts to crowd the pages of my mind. The times I could have swallowed my fear, or my pride, or my overzealousness for the status quo, and reached out a little farther — to other people, to other challenges, to other ideas. Even if none of those times by themselves would have altered my fate, or ours, much at all. When you add up a lifetime’s worth of clafoutis that never quite made it into the oven, you start to feel like you might’ve been a lot better off if you’d cranked up the heat and baked a few. You might’ve changed the world. Or you might’ve simply found the peace that would come from knowing exactly where you stood, arms wide open and fingers stained with cherry juice. That in itself would be really something.

My friend Cheryl is good at a lot of things. She writes words that find their way into minds and hearts. She bakes clafoutis that make it to the oven. And maybe more than anything, she opens spaces where people can come together and share ideas about the words that they would like to write and the clafoutis that they would like to bake. Most recently, she’s set her sights on cherries.

And see? Just like that, she’s gotten us somewhere already. Not all the way to a clafoutis just yet, sure. But to cherry vanilla crisps, which, in themselves, are really something.

You can prepare a batch of these, screw the lids on tight, and freeze them before baking. Give them as gifts — to others, or one at a time, after a too-long day, to yourself. If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that gifts to yourself are a good idea. For now, a crisp. And maybe someday, a clafoutis.



  • But, but…baking a clafoutis is really, really easy. I could make a clafoutis when I was a first-time mother (and virtual newlywed) and could make about ten things. And: I’ve never tried it, but I have read that it tastes better if you leave the pits _in_!ReplyCancel

  • My very, very favorite part of this whole thing, aside from the obvious (that you mention me! me! me!), is that somehow you think *I* am a cherry clafouti maker, too. And yet, I would make 5,000 of these wee little crisps before I’d go all custardy on those cherries. And you used muscovado!

    I have just used 4 exclamation points in this single comment, which should tell you something.ReplyCancel

  • I love clafoutis but I’ve never made a cherry one. Give it a try, it will be so worth it, I’m sure :D These crisps look fantastic though! I love that you made them in jars to be frozen, that is an awesome idea. I’m going to try that out some time :DReplyCancel

  • Here’s my secret for cherry clafoutis (don’t tell anyone): jarred Morello cherries. Or even frozen ones from Trader Joe’s. I tend to make them more in the cooler months, and leave the height-of-the-season stuff for straight-on eating (gorging).ReplyCancel

  • Henry Doll

    Might guidelines for proper Porridge, and Bangers and Mash be in the future for those of us who remain on this side of the pond?

    This is going to be a trip for all of us!ReplyCancel

  • Noel

    You should try Hot Cherries Jubilee over french Vanilla Ice cream. It
    has a 7 min prep time if cherries are already pitted. There are many good recipes on web. Use only fresh lemons, there’s no comparison with concentrate.ReplyCancel

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