Why You Should Stick With Fresh Fruit For Creamy Clafoutis

If you haven't yet been introduced to the wonderful pastry item that is clafoutis, let us help you out. This French classic is half custard filling, half fruity cake, and all decadence. Beyond promising a delicious, textured treat, clafoutis is one of the more flexible cakes around. Cherry clafoutis is one of the most popular takes, but a clafoutis can be made with pear, apple, blueberry, stone fruit, or even grape as the starring fruit. Still, there's one firm rule that bakers need to follow regarding the fruit selection: go fresh or bust. 

Specifically, this means that frozen fruit should be avoided at all costs. Why? Frozen fruit brings excess moisture to the batter, weighing it down and creating a soggy mess. One reason that frozen fruit is so watery is that when it's frozen, the water within the fruit expands into ice crystals, bursting delicate cell walls. The fruit will be slightly mushy and wetter than its fresh counterpart. This is particularly important with a thin, liquid-heavy batter like clafoutis, where any extra moisture can tip the dish over into the land of soup, rather than custard. 

Choose fresh fruit for the best clafoutis texture

Another reason to skip the frozen fruit? A runny, messy appearance. One of the beautiful aspects of clafoutis is its lovely presentation, with solid bits of fruit embedded like jewels in the golden batter. If using frozen fruit, you risk the batter going a psychedelic tie-dye color or a mottled hue. Fresh fruit will hold their juices in until the very end of baking, so the result will be a cleaner overall look. 

The good news is that beyond avoiding frozen fruit, pretty much any fruit you choose will be fair game for a clafoutis. Even a mix of fruit, like a blend of plums and cherries or a medley of berries, would be nice. One thing to note is that berries, like raspberries and blueberries, release more juices than stone fruit, like peaches and nectarines. Just keep in mind that you may need to have a lighter hand when adding berries to a clafoutis so that you don't overwhelm the thin custard with excess moisture. Still, as long as you select fresh fruit, your clafoutis is bound to be a delicious success.