Little Cherry Clafoutis: A Dessert Inspired by the VS Orient Express from Cleo Coyle

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This classic French dessert originated from the Limousin region of France, and Chef Christian Bodiguel described it as one of his favorites, which is why he served it on the famous VS-Orient Express. The luxury train line has a new executive chef now, but a few years ago, Chef Bodiguel shared his recipe online, which I slightly adapted into the version below. 

Click here or on the image above
for Cleo's free recipe PDF.

With cherry season upon us, this a great time to bake up these treats. At other times of the year, frozen cherries can be used in place of fresh (see my instructions below). And in an American pinch, you can even try blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries.

In the meantime, Marc and I wish you all the best for the season's eatings.

May you eat (and travel) with joy! 

~ Cleo

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Cleo Coyle writes two
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🍒 A Note from Cleo

While the original Orient Express train is defunct, the Venice Simplon-Orient Express (VSOE) is a beautiful re-creation of Agatha Christie's famous setting. Running from London to Venice and other destinations in Europe, including Paris, Rome, Prague, and Budapest, this rolling museum uses gorgeously restored carriages from the original line, dating back to the 1920s and 30s. 

Taking a trip on the VS-Orient Express would be an amazing experience, and it's absolutely on our bucket list. Marc and I are guessing that many of you would take the trip with us, if you could, especially if you're also fans of Dame Agatha.

Unfortunately for us, with back-to-back writing deadlines, we're having a staycation in Queens this year. At least, with today's recipe, we can share a little taste of the luxury liner's dessert menu...

Take a video trip on the VS-Orient Expresss,
by clicking 
the arrow in the window below.

If you do not see the video above,
you can watch it by clicking here.

And below is a fun Orient Express Virtual Background
to play on your computer, tablet, or television screen...

If you do not see the video above,
you can watch it by clicking here.

🍒 And now for the recipe...



To download this recipe as a
free PDF document that you
can print, save, or share,

Click for Free Recipe PDF.

🍒 Individual Cherry Clafoutis (aka Clafouti)
with (or without) Kirsch

A recipe by the former executive chef of the VS-Orient Express, Christian Bodiguel. Slightly adapted for an American audience with photos by author Cleo Coyle


1 to 1-1/2 cups whole sweet cherries*
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
3 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon whole milk
4 teaspoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons kirsch*
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon + 1-1/2 teaspoons melted (and cooled) butter
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

*Ingredient substitution notes.

*1 CHERRIES: Fresh is best, but out of season, you can substitute frozen cherries. Place them in a colander, run hot tap water over them briefly and drain well before proceeding. Though not traditional (in an American pinch), you can also try substituting blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries.

*2 KIRSCH: Kirsch is a strong, clear, cherry brandy. If you don’t have kirsch on hand, substitute another brandy, or white rum. If you’d rather not use alcohol, substitute cherry juice.


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and generously butter four 4-ounce ramekins or other small oven-proof cups. De-stem the cherries and remove their pits. Roughly chop them. Divide the cherries into the four buttered ramekins or oven-proof serving bowls.

In a mixing bowl, whisk up the egg, and egg yolks. Add the milk, cream, kirsch (or substitute), and vanilla, and whisk well. Whisk in the melted (and cooled) butter. Now whisk in the confectioners' sugar, making sure it's fully dissolved. Finally, whisk in the flour. The batter will be loose.

Divide the batter up evenly among the four ramekins, pouring it as you see below...

Place the ramekins directly on the oven rack. Bake for about 30 minutes.

Serve lukewarm with sweetened whipped cream, a scoop of ice cream, or even a dollop of cream cheese frosting, with joy! ~ Cleo 

☕ Serve with 
Cleo's Cold Brew!


Eat (and read) with joy!

New York Times bestselling author
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Cleo (Alice) with her husband Marc

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