First things first, you may be asking, “What is Clafouti?!!!”
Clafouti is a quintessentially French dessert. It’s fruit suspended in luscious custard, kind of like a French bread pudding, but waaaay easier and much less complicated to make. Sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it?
As this is such a French dish, you may not be surprised to learn that Brigitte Bardot, the star who’s name and face are synonomous with France, loves clafouti. What may surprise you is that Bardot not only enjoys eating clafouti, she also makes this dessert herself!
Isn’t that a fun picture to imagine? The gorgeous, utterly elegant, fashion plate Brigitte Bardot, in the kitchen, making clafouti. Brigitte has been known to make her homemade clafouti for friends and family over the years. My favorite anecdote involves Brigitte and her sister, Marie Jeanne, who Bardot affectionately nicknamed “Mijanou.” (Yes, can you believe it?!!! Bardot’s sister has the same name in French as my little Mary Jeanne! Talk about coincidence!)
Mijanou was ill in the hospital, so what did big sister Brigitte do? She brought Mijanou her homemade soup and clafouti! I just love that.
Now I’m not exactly sure what Brigitte’s homemade clafouti recipe entails, but my take on this classic French dessert reminds me of BB, and transports me to Paris every time I make it! Brigitte is the inspiration behind the name of this recipe.
My second inspiration for this clafouti is the Queen of Cooking herself, Ms Ina Garten! Mary Jeanne and I frequently plan for our future family trip to Paris (which will hopefully be sooner than later!!!), and the other day we were watching that episode of Ina’s show where she goes to Paris (Part Deux) and eats at all those fabulous restaurants.
At one of the places Ina stops, the chef prepares pear clafouti with her. And since I think pears are a quintessentially autumn fruit, I use pears in my Clafouti à la Bardot recipe. If you can’t find pears, you could no doubt substitute cherries or berries here. I also follow Ina’s method of letting the custard batter sit for ten minutes before baking the clafouti. If you’d like to check out Ina’s pear clafouti recipe, head on over to her elegant site!
Really quick before I send you down to the recipe, what I think puts my Clafouti à la Bardot over the top is the almond flour and the vanilla bean paste. To me, almonds and pears are a match made in heaven, so using almond flour to infuse this clafouti custard with that almond flavor and texture is truly a no brainer. It’s so good!
And vanilla bean paste! I’ve sung its praises before with my Banana Graham Bread, but I must do it again here! Vanilla bean paste is basically vanilla extract amplified: it actually has vanilla beans in it, and it’s a paste, not a liquid. If you’re like me and love vanilla flavor, but can’t afford to buy those expensive vanilla bean pods (or don’t have time to scrape the beans out of those pods!) then vanilla bean paste is the ingredient for you!
Vanilla bean paste lasts forever, is inexpensive, and will really take your baked goods up to the next level. That’s why I love using vanilla bean paste in my Clafouti à la Bardot. Here is my very favorite vanilla bean paste on Amazon [aff. link].
Start planning your next trip to Paris, and let my Clafouti à la Bardot transport you to this beautiful city!
Clafouti à la Bardot
- 3 Tbsp turbinado sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp almond flour
- 1 cup milk or cream
- 2 Tbsp butter, melted
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or one additional tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp lemon zest, plus a little more for garnish
- 2 large pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- Powdered sugar, for garnish
Prepare the baking dish(s)
- Oil your baking dish, then press the turbinado sugar granules into the bottom of the dish and up the sides. (I use an 8x8 inch cast iron skillet, and a 5x5 inch small pie dish, but any 8x8 inch baking dish or 9x9 in baking dish will work. Just use whatever you have!) Set aside.
Beat the eggs and sugar
- With a stand or handheld mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed until the yokes break and come together. Without stopping the mixer, slowly add in the sugar. Beat until the eggs and sugar have formed a light and fluffy mixture, about 3 minutes.
Add the other batter ingredients
- Again without stopping the mixer, slowly add in the flour, followed by the almond flour.
- Once fully incorporated, add in the melted butter, cream/milk, vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste (if using), salt, and lemon zest. Keep mixing until everything has incorporated, and you have a smooth, fluffy custard batter.
- Let the batter sit for about 10 minutes while you get the pears ready!
Prepare the pears
- Peel, core, and slice the pears. Then arrange them evenly in the bottom of your baking dish.
Pour the custard over the top and bake!
- Pour the custard batter over the pears. Leave at least ½ inch of space at the top of your baking dish to allow the clafouti to rise in the oven without spilling over the edge of your dish.
- Bake at 375 degrees until the top of the clafouti has turned golden and is firm, but still has a little, well, jiggle to it. Cooking times will vary depending on the baking dish(s) you use. See "What I do" that follows directly.
What I do
- I like to bake this clafouti in an 8x8 inch cast iron skillet and a 5x5 inch pie dish. (There's a little bit of extra batter if you use an 8x8 inch baking dish, so a small pie dish or ramekin is perfect for that remaining batter!)
- I put both baking dishes in the oven at the same time.
- Bake the mini pie dish for 24 minutes, then remove it from the oven, and let the 8x8 inch baking dish keep baking.
- Bake the 8x8 inch dish for a total of 31 minutes.
- You may use a 9x9 inch baking dish instead, or even use little ramekins, just remember to adjust your cooking time accordingly. Either of these options will require less time in the oven. Probably start with 20-25 min and go from there.)
Garnish and enjoy!
- Remove the clafouti from the oven and garnish with powdered sugar, followed by a little bit of lemon zest, if desired.
- Serve the clafouti warm, at room temperature, or even cold! I love this completely French dessert at all temperatures.