My friend Hanne served this and for me it was love at first bite. I’ve read several recipes for it and she gave me hers; it’s a recipe that is comfortably loose in its requirements. Do what you wish! The one below is a melange of Hanne’s, James Beard’s and my own.
1 pound prepared fruit: plums, peaches, cherries, prunes (yes, James Beard makes it with prunes). If you use plums, peaches or something else of that ilk, remove the skin and pit first. Plums can easily be peeled by dunking them for 30 seconds in boiling water. Take pits out of cherries (but you knew that).
1 cup raisins, your choice of color
1/2 cup sherry, port, brandy, vin santo: this is optional, leave out if you feel like it.
6 Tbl sugar
3 Tbl flour
2 1/2 cup milk, scalded (feel free to substitute a couple of Tbl cream for same amount of milk)
As much butter as you dare, up to 4 Tbl
1 tsp Vanilla
Soak the raisins in the sherry, port, etc. for up to 8 hours, or at a minimum for the time it takes you to prepare your fruit. If you’re not using the alcohol, don’t bother soaking the raisins; they’ll be fine if they’re not too old and wizened.
Preheat oven to 375 F
Butter a 10″ baking dish and arrange your prepared fruit and the raisins in it.
Beat the eggs well and add the sugar.
Scald the milk, or just get it good and hot in the microwave. Don’t let it boil.
Melt the butter (microwave is fine for this too) and stir in the flour till well mixed. Add this to your hot milk and mix well (but don’t cook – you’re not making a roux here), then add all to the eggs and sugar, stirring well all the while. If the milk/butter/flour is still really hot let it cool a while before adding it to the eggs – you don’t want scrambled eggs). Add the alcohol the raisins soaked in, up to about 1/2 cup, and the vanilla.
Pour the custard over the fruit, pop in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
If you wish you can dust the cooled clafoutis with powdered sugar, but I usually don’t because I’m too lazy. It’s also delicious when still a bit warm from the oven.