Seventeen years ago, I planted a raspberry patch in our garden, in anticipation that I would one day have a child who would love picking fresh raspberries. A year later, I gave birth to our son, Giovanni, whose love for our raspberry patch is unrivaled.

In a year where nothing seems normal, our raspberry patch has been no exception; but, happily so, as we are experiencing our most prolific season, ever.

Sarah's latest raspberry harvest, fresh and ready for Gio to pick. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
Sarah's latest raspberry harvest, fresh and ready for Gio to pick. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

We mostly grow an everbearing variety, and our second wave is just starting to emerge after an explosive yield earlier this summer. With new buds popping every day, I have the perfect excuse to make one of my favorite fresh fruit desserts, Raspberry Clafoutis.

Even though it may sound fancy, clafoutis is essentially a simple combination of baked custard and fruit. Pronounced KLAH'-foo-TEE,' this French dessert is traditionally made with fresh cherries, but, thanks to our homegrown patch, I have only made it with raspberries.

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When using cherries or other stone fruit like peaches and plums, it’s best to remove the pit and saute the fruit with butter in a baking dish over medium heat until the fruit has softened, which usually takes about two minutes.

When using fresh berries, I cover them first with a sprinkling of sugar and then put the baking dish in the hot oven for about two minutes, just to soften up the berries before adding the batter.

The raspberries are coated in sugar according to their tartness, and then warmed in the oven before the batter is added. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
The raspberries are coated in sugar according to their tartness, and then warmed in the oven before the batter is added. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

The amount of sugar to use here will depend on the tartness of the berries, so give them a taste and go from there. For sweeter berries, I will add 1 tablespoon and adjust upward for tarter berries.

The batter can be made by hand, but the task is so much simpler when using a food processor or blender, which can blitz the ingredients into a batter in under two minutes. The batter consists of pantry staples, including flour, sugar, butter, eggs, milk, salt and vanilla extract. Once mixed, the batter will be thin, almost like a pancake batter, but free of any lumps.

A food processor or blender makes this simple, yet elegant, dessert even easier to make. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
A food processor or blender makes this simple, yet elegant, dessert even easier to make. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Once the batter is ready, it is poured over the warmed raspberries and then the dish goes back into a hot oven (425 degrees) until the center is puffed and set, and the edges are a rich, golden brown. This usually only takes about 20 minutes, which means you can have an elegant dessert ready to serve in under 30 minutes.

In a gratin dish or pie plate, the simple batter is poured over fresh raspberries before going into the oven. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
In a gratin dish or pie plate, the simple batter is poured over fresh raspberries before going into the oven. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

As soon as the clafoutis comes out of the oven, I give it a hefty dusting of powdered sugar, and then let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before cutting it into pieces to serve. You can slice it into wedges or use a large spoon to scoop out the servings. You can enjoy it with just the powdered sugar or jazz it up by adding a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream.

The Raspberry Clafoutis is ready to remove from the oven when its center is puffy and set, and the edges are a rich, golden brown. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
The Raspberry Clafoutis is ready to remove from the oven when its center is puffy and set, and the edges are a rich, golden brown. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

What could be better for dessert, brunch or even breakfast, than jammy pillows of raspberries nestled into a warm, crusty custard?

Raspberry Clafoutis is a perfect treat to end a meal, or to start your day, or to just enjoy whenever you like.

Raspberry Clafoutis, with a hefty dusting of powdered sugar, is the perfect treat to enjoy for dessert, brunch or even breakfast. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
Raspberry Clafoutis, with a hefty dusting of powdered sugar, is the perfect treat to enjoy for dessert, brunch or even breakfast. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Raspberry Clafoutis

PRINT: Click here for a printer-friendly version of this recipe

Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

2 large or extra-large eggs

2 tablespoons sugar, plus 1-2 tablespoons more for the raspberries

¾ cup whole milk (or 2%)

1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups fresh raspberries (about 12 ounces)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Use unsalted butter to grease a 9-inch gratin dish or pie plate, being sure to generously coat the sides and bottom; set aside.

In a food processor or liquid blender, add the flour, salt, eggs, 2 tablespoons sugar, milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Turn the processor on and blitz for 1 minute, until batter is smooth and free of lumps. Scrape down the sides and bottom well and blitz again for 30 seconds. Let batter rest as you prepare the raspberries.

In the greased dish, scatter raspberries in an even layer. Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of sugar over the raspberries — the amount of sugar will depend upon their tartness, so taste the berries first to gauge.

Place the dish with the berries in the hot oven for 2 minutes, then remove from oven. Pour batter over raspberries and bake until the clafoutis appears puffed up and set (not jiggly), and golden brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center around 18 minutes — when it comes out clean, the clafoutis is done.

Remove from oven and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes to set the custard. Best when served warm with a generous dusting of powdered sugar. Excellent on its own or with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.