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 Clafoutis with Almond FlourPrint 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.