Photo courtesy of Maura McEvoy.
| November 8, 2013

Forget all those pancakes or flimsy crepes you’ve been devouring at brunch. There’s a dessert that’s as easy to prepare as waffles, that puffs up like a delicate soufflé, that's loaded with the creamy goodness of a flan, and can be prepared with nearly any ingredient in your fridge.

Prepare to sink your teeth into a clafoutis, also known as France’s sweetest secret.

READ: Wake Up to These 12 Decadent Brunch Dishes

This rustic baked dessert, usually bursting with black cherries, is a classic, and it's one that can be best described as a rich, hearty pancake (or the European take on a pie). It’s one that chef and cookbook author John Besh discovered during his many travels, and it continues to be one of his favorite findings.

“This recipe resonates with me because it is so simple and versatile and, at the same time, elegant,” explains Besh. “If you understand this basic batter, the sky’s the limit: it’s a perfect blank canvas for almost any fruit you can think of, from choppable fruits like mango and banana, to cherries preserved in brandy. It’s a recipe to draw upon all year long.”

When preparing the decadent clafoutis, Besh likes to incorporate seasonal ingredients, like pear, concord grape, or even drool-worthy milk chocolate with hazelnuts for a Nutella-esque flavor. Best of all, this is one recipe that’s difficult to mess up.

“I try to serve it immediately, because it will inevitably fall and deflate — but not to worry: This will happen and it’s just as delicious anyway,” he adds.

Check out the basic recipe below and incorporate any fruits, nuts, and/or chocolates of your choice. Enjoy!

Clafoutis: The Rich French Pancake You're Not Eating — Yet

Cooking Method: 
Serves 4-6


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Fruits, nuts or chocolate of your choice


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and butter until the sugar is dissolved. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Pour the batter into a cast iron skillet or pie pan.
  2. Add your favorite fruit or flavoring.
  3. Bake until the clafoutis is puffed and golden, about 35-40 minutes. Serve immediately.