Gluten-free cherry clafoutis is an easy and elegant dessert for cherry season! This French baked custard combines boozy fresh (or frozen) cherries with a vanilla-scented almond flour batter.
With a silky texture that's somewhere between a dutch baby and a pudding cake, this foolproof dessert recipe will be ready in under an hour. With dairy-free and refined sugar-free options!
This gluten-free cherry clafoutis is the dessert I make every year when cherries come into season in early summer. Cherry season is fleeting, lasting only a month or two, and clafoutis, with its minimal ingredients and high fruit-to-custard ratio, allows the fruit to star. I usually start out with clafoutis and as summer progresses and cherries become more plentiful, I switch to gluten-free sweet cherry pie.
Clafoutis has been one of our favorite fruit dessert recipes since I introduced Jay to it and waxed poetic in 2010 with a recipe for gluten-full apricot cherry clafoutis. I then featured an apricot clafoutis with cardamom and honey in my book Alternative Baker, as well as a fall version with pears, pomegranate, and pistachios.
But with boozy cherries and almond-scented custard, this gluten-free cherry clafoutis is as close to classic as it gets, and it truly needs no embellishment.
What is Cherry Clafoutis?
Clafoutis hails from the Limousin region of France where black cherries abound. It most closely resembles a richer, sweeter Dutch baby-ish batter poured around brandy-infused cherries and baked. Fresh from the oven, clafoutis batter tastes like a thick baked custard wrapped around luscious fruit. In every spoonful you get a bite of fresh cherry infused with your spirit of choice, plus creamy, buttery batter redolent with almond and vanilla.
Like most French desserts, clafoutis isn't overly sweet. Despite tasting rich and decadent, it has some nutritional value too – lots of fresh fruit, protein-rich eggy batter, and minimal sugar (just a couple of teaspoons per serving).
Traditionally, the pits are left in the cherries and they infuse the dish with the taste of bitter almond as they bake. I usually pit my cherries for ease, but if you prefer to leave them in, go right ahead! Just be sure to warn your guests.
Ingredients & Substitution Suggestions
This gluten-free cherry clafoutis comes together with minimal ingredients that bake up with the most delightful texture. Your guests will never guess it's gluten-free! I've provided a dairy-free option as well.
- Cherries star in this clafoutis, and any variety of sweet cherry will work. It's traditional to use fresh cherries with the pits left in, which add notes of bitter almond when they bake. I prefer to pit my cherries for eating ease. This is the cherry pitter I like. Frozen, defrosted cherries can be substituted. Or use any other fruit such as berries, peaches, plums, apricots, figs, or ripe pears and this will technically be a flaugnarde.
- Brandy or gluten-free whiskey infuses the cherries with flavor, drawing out their juices and lending a boozy tanginess. Feel free to omit the alcohol if you prefer.
- Milk and cream form the custard base. Use full-fat canned coconut milk in place of both for dairy-free.
- Eggs set the custard and fluff it up in the oven. Since they are an important part of the texture of this dessert, I don't recommend subbing them out.
- Sugar sweetens the custard. I prefer organic granulated sugar. Sub maple sugar or coconut for refined sugar-free. Or use a liquid sweetener such as honey or maple syrup and add it along with the melted butter.
- Butter adds richness. Use plant-based butter for dairy-free.
- Vanilla and salt sharpen the flavors.
Alternative Flours for Gluten-Free Clafoutis
After testing various flour combinations for gluten-free clafoutis, I've found that equal parts blanched almond flour, sweet rice flour, and oat flour create the nicest consistency. That said, feel free to trade all the flours for 88 grams (about 3/4 cup) of a good gluten-free all-purpose blend such as Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 flour.
- Blanched almond flour adds that quintessential almond flavor and protein that helps the batter puff softly in the oven. Sub by weight almond meal, hazelnut flour, or use millet flour for nut-free.
- Sweet rice flour helps replace some of the sticky starchiness that wheat flour contains. Sub by weight gluten-free all-purpose flour or cassava flour.
- Oat flour lends a soft, pillowy texture and a touch of earthy flavor. Sub by weight sorghum or teff flour.
How to Make Gluten-Free Cherry Clafoutis
Clafoutis comes together with minimal fuss in under an hour. You just need a bowl to whisk the batter together and a 9- or 10-inch round baking pan or the equivalent. This recipe makes one clafoutis, or about 8 servings.
Clafoutis vs. Flaugnarde
Clafoutis technically must be made with cherries to be called such; when made with other fruits, it's considered Flaugnarde. However, clafoutis is the better-known term in the US and recipes by english speakers abound for clafoutis made with various fruits.
That said, you could pair any soft fruit you like with this batter. Plums, berries, peaches, apricots, and figs all work beautifully as do ripe pears and roasted sweetened rhubarb.
How to Serve Gluten-Free Clafoutis
This gluten-free cherry clafoutis is best served slightly warm, when the batter is soft enough to enjoy with a spoon and the cherries taste as though ripened in the sun. A dusting of powdered sugar over its softly rumpled face is optional, but it adds a nice texture and gentle hit of sweetness. I like a dab of crème fraîche or lightly sweetened whipped cream on top.
Leftover clafoutis can be stored covered in the refrigerator. I'm not one to shy away from eating slices cold from the fridge, but it really is best to warm them up when sharing with company.
Are you a fan of clafoutis? Let me know in the comments below!
*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this gluten-free cherry clafoutis, I’d love to see. Tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.*
Gluten-Free Cherry ClafoutisPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1 generous pound (500 g) cherries, stemmed and pitted (about 3 cups)
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) brandy or bourbon (use brandy if highly gluten-sensitive; whiskey may contain trace amounts of gluten)
- 3 tablespoons (42 g) melted and cooled butter, plus 1 teaspoon softened butter for the pan
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ cup (50 g) organic granulated cane sugar
- ¼ cup (36 g) sweet rice flour
- ¼ cup (27 g) blanched almond flour
- ¼ cup (25 g) GF oat flour
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- ¾ cup (180 ml) whole milk
- ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
- powdered sugar, for serving (optional)
- crème fraîche or lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving (optional)
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400ºF (200ºC). Rub a 10-inch ceramic tart or quiche pan (or a 9-inch pie or cake pan) with the 1 teaspoon butter and place on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips.
- Combine the pitted and stemmed cherries with the brandy or whiskey in a medium bowl and set aside while you make the batter, tossing a few times.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth. Push the almond, oat and rice flours and the sugar and salt through a strainer directly into the egg mixture, adding back any bits that get caught in the strainer. Whisk until very smooth, then whisk in the melted butter and vanilla until smooth. Gradually whisk in the milk and heavy cream. The consistency will be that of a thick crepe batter. The batter can be made a day ahead and chilled overnight. If it separates, whisk it to recombine.
- Pour the batter into the pan and arrange the cherries over the batter. Drizzle any cherry/brandy juice over the top.
- Bake the clafoutis until puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, 30–35 minutes. Remove and let cool for at least 20 minutes. Sift a bit of powdered sugar over the top if you like just before serving.
- Serve the clafoutis warm scooped into bowls, or at room temperature cut into wedges on plates. Top with crème fraîche or whipped cream if you like.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated airtight for up to several days; reheat prior to serving if you like.
Paige Cassandra Flamm says
This looks amazing! I need to try this asap!
Christina Dally-Watkins says
Pls note it is not Gluten free if you use oat flour.
Oat flour is actually naturally gluten free, but it's often processed at the same facilities as wheat. It's important to source gluten free oat flour as I noted in the recipe! I use Bob's Red Mill GF oat flour. :)
Frances Eychner says
Is it alright to use King Arthur cup for cup gluten free flour instead of the three separate flours in the recipe?
I'm guessing that would work, though the almond flour does add a very nice flavor and texture. Please let me know if you give it a try!
Mary Ludwig says
Have you tried this with almond milk or coconut as I also do a dairy free diet.?
I haven't but I bet coconut milk would work well! Please let me know if you give it a try. :)
Enjoyed this recipe & was so glad for it’s timeliness. Lots of cherries available right now plus they are my husband’s favorite fruit, so making this was a no-brainer! We both really liked it and other than pitting the cherries, it was quick to do. Another winner, Alanna!
Thanks so much for trying my recipe - I'm so glad you liked it! :)
Hi. I baked a clafoutis recently leaving the pits in. At first I was hesitant, but the pits easily separate from the cherries in your mouth, so it is pretty easy to remove them politely with thumb and forefinger. I did note a wonderful almondy flavor the pits imparted.
Next I'll try without the pits. I admit it is much more pleasing not to have to worry about the pits, and i understand why people take the time to remove them before cooking.
That's so good to know! I have yet to try leaving the pits in, but it would be so much simpler that way. :)
Ruxandra Johnson says
If we want to try it with normal flour, then what will be the ratios?
Great question! Try my wheat version here. :)
where can I find the wheat version
Here you go! https://bojongourmet.com/apricot-cherry-clafoutis/
We devoured this dessert both times! In spite of liquidy first attempt (too many cherries, glass pie plate not deep enough. Second time - perfect! Used ceramic quiche pan, used mixer to beat batter, let it rest, and added a bit more rice flour (seemed too thin). It's our go-to dessert for excess cherries. Thank you so much!
Aw fantastic! I'm so glad you loved the recipe. Good call on adding more rice flour!
Hi can I exchange honey for sugar? Thanks looks great 😊
Alanna Taylor-Tobin says
Yes, that should work just fine!
Do you have a suggestion for milk and cream substitutes for the lactose intolerant? Thanks!!
Alanna Taylor-Tobin says
Great question! I added a note to the recipe above. Canned full-fat coconut milk should work beautifully. Please let me know if you try it!
In lieu of almond flour (nut allergy), has anyone tried using buckwheat flour? If so, did you use the same weight as the almond flour?
Alanna Taylor-Tobin says
Hi! I haven't tested this but I think buckwheat flour would work (and taste delicious!) I would sub by weight if possible. Please let me know if you try it out!
I made a small test batch (1/3 of the recipe) replacing, by weight, the almond flour with buckwheat flour. I also replaced the milk + cream with whole-milk yogurt and omitted the alcohol. The batter was chilled overnight. The next day, I baked it using diced apples and added a bit of orange zest.
The combination of yogurt + orange zest + buckwheat + apples was divine. The texture was spot-on - very egg-y. Next time, I'll slice the apples 1/16 inch thick because they were a bit under-cooked. I may also increase the ratio of apples to batter hoping to recreate Dorie Greenspan's Custardy Apples, which I've been trying to convert to a gluten-free version.
Thank you for the continued inspiration, Alana. Your formulas never fail!
Quick question, should I thaw frozen cherries, before going ahead with the recipe?
I have some left in the freezer from picking and pitting last summer.
Alanna Taylor-Tobin says
Hi Jeannie, yes I would thaw the cherries first, then toss them with the booze and proceed with the recipe. Depending how much juice they release, you might want to leave some off if it's more than a tablespoon or two. I haven't tested it this way, so please do let me know how it goes!
Another beautiful recipe! To make this totally grain free, would you sub a little more cassava flour for the oat? Or maybe a little tapioca? Thanks so much!
Alanna Taylor-Tobin says
Oh thank you! You know, I think I'd try using equal parts almond flour and cassava flour, so about 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons each, or whatever it takes to get the same weight. I've been wanting to test this out myself. Please let me know if you try it this way and I can add it to the recipe notes!