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Berry Clafoutis: A French Cobbler Delight

Flognarde, or berry clafoutis (kla-foo-tee), is a classic French cobbler that is 1) the simplest recipe card in my vintage Claude Monet tin and 2) reasonably healthy, as desserts go anyway. If you can make a bowl of cereal, you can make this, and as a bonus, you can add French boulangère to your resumé.

What You’ll Need

1 bag frozen berry mix (or any fruit, essentially)

1 box dry cake mix (yellow or white)

1 can clear soda (lemon-lime, Sprite, or ginger ale)

Non-stick spray

Sugar, optional

What You’ll Do

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Spray a 13x9 baking dish

Tip: Bake and present in a trés chic dessert cocotte if you really want to show off. This dessert not only tastes good, it’s gorgeous!

Pour in frozen berries. Of course you can bake this French treat with any cobbler-friendly fruit (but sans the berries, it’s no longer a clafoutis and technically becomes a Flognarde). If you’d like, you can sprinkle a bit of sugar over your fruit. I prefer not to, that’s what ice cream is for, but this is your opportunity to put your signature on this decadent delight. The paste of a vanilla bean over apricots, fresh grated cinnamon over French apples… experiment. Get creative. You can’t mess this up, Mademoiselle.

Tip: When your berries have gone a day past their prime, pop them into a freezer bag. They’re a perfect pull for this recipe.

Open your cake mix and “mush” though the package to break up any clumps that might be in there, then sprinkle the dry mix over your fruit. DO NOT STIR! You’ll be tempted. Don’t. Instead, poke a fork into the mix just to let a bit settle down into the berries. 

Slowly pour one can of soda over the pan. I like ginger ale, specifically Northern Neck ginger ale which is a local favorite in the rural Northern Neck region of Virginia, where I used to spend carefree summers running though corn fields as a child. Sprite, or any CLEAR lemon lime clear soda will do the trick. Your mixture should fizz and froth. C’est se bonne. These little fizzy pockets of air will allow the berries to bubble and bubble and bubble and ohh la la.

Tip: If you’re sweet enough, or have dietary restrictions, diet soda and sugar free cake mix can be substituted. Oui… sugar free, guilt free. 

Pop your dish into the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Want a glass of wine? May as well, there’s no mess to clean up. Carefully remove your dish and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Torture, I know, but if you break the “crust” now, the steam will collapse it and you’ll have soggy-cobbler. While your clafoutis is resting and cooling a bit, pull your Grandmere’s berry bowls from the étagère. With a large serving spoon, scoop a generous portion. So riche en couleurs! Serve as is or, if you’re so fan-say, a la mode. I like to watch a bit of vanilla fro-yo melt into it… and I garnish with lavender,  just because.

Bon appetit.

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