My Travel Blog

How Did I Ever Survive Without Clafouti? [ Recipe Included ]

Clafouti.  What in the world is clafouti? Up until recently I hadn’t a clue.  Was I ever pleased to find out. In short clafouti is a dessert.  It’s best described as a cross between a cake and a pie, and it may be the best dessert in the entire world, but that’s just my opinion.

So how does one make a clafouti? We started with a wild cherry tree loaded with ripe cherries. Lisa and I picked a large bowl full.  Then I was given the task of pitting them. The cherries we picked were sour cherries, but you can use sweet cherries.

No shortage of cherries on this tree.

Lisa picking wild cherries.

Pitting the cherries.

Clafouti. I only took one slice.

The following recipe is from the Joy of Cooking though slightly abbreviated:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter a 10-in. deep-dish pie pan.
  2. Beat until frothy 4 large eggs and ¾ cup sugar.
  3. Add and beat until smooth 1-cup milk, 1-tablespoon Cognac or rum, and 2-teaspoons vanilla.
  4. Stir in ¾-cup all-purpose flour and a pinch of salt.
  5. Spread over the bottom of the buttered pie-pan 1-pound cherries, and then pour the batter over the cherries. (I prefer sour and pitted cherries.)
  6. Bake for 10-minutes at 375 F then lower temperature to 350 F. Bake another approx. 35-minutes until top has puffed and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Transfer to rack and cool for 20 minutes then dust with powdered sugar.
  8. I prefer my clafouti served with vanilla ice cream, but then I like everything served withice cream.

After stuffing ourselves with clafouti our next stop was Beffes. Parking was a little tight as I maneuvered Rabelo between a large hotel barge and a small fiberglass cruiser. We get a lot of these cruisers on the canals. Kevin and I refer to them as tasty,soft, and squishy morsels. That evening Lisa and I went for a walk while Kevin took his motorcycle to pick up the car. While walking we found an old wash house that still had running water, though the sign said it was dangerous to drink.  On our way back we saw Kevin returning with the car.  He stopped and said to us in his delightful French accent, “I have good news and bad news. What would you like to hear first?”

Rabelo parked in Beffes.

The old wash house in Beffes.

Lisa instantly replied, “Oh no, what’s the good news?” I would have asked for the bad news first.

Kevin smiled and said, “We are all very happy.” Remember the French don’t pronounce the H. More important Kevin’s response was so French. They have this wonderful attitude towards life. It’s something we try to embrace everyday while enjoying this beautiful country and it’s friendly people, and yes we had to agree we were all “Appy.”

Kevin eventually told us the bad news.  A lock was broken up ahead, and wouldn’t be repaired until the following week. It wasn’t a big deal because with our new relaxed schedule we wouldn’t arrive there until it had been repaired.

The next day we crossed over the Loire River on an aqueduct, and came to a double lock.  We have done a couple of double locks in the past. You enter the top lock and when the water is drained out you exit the lock directly into a second lock. It’s not particularly complicated, but unfortunately the VNF had just replaced the old lock doors with new doors that actually made the locks shorter.  Because Rabelo is a little over sized, things got rather tight. We had only three inches at the bow and a foot of space at the stern.  That’s with the rudder turned 90 degrees. As the water drained out of the lock we kept our lines extra tight to prevent Rabelo from sliding forwards and backwards as we were lowered fifteen-feet in each lock.We exited the second lock without a scratch, and headed for La Charitesur Loire.

Lisa looking concerned as we exit the double lock just past Beffes.

Sunset on the Canal Lateral a la sur Loire.

This is France so the locks are closed from noon to 1:00. This is how we block the canal to make sure no one gets in front of us when the lock opens.

-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave”  and “When Stones Speak”– 
Chuck Palmer Adventure novels


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.