Monday, November 9, 2009

Apple Clafouti - a Recipe from a French Girl

Apples are bliss for me. I buy a box or two of rose-and-gold farm apples in the fall, mixing up the varieties as much as I can. Then I have lots for thick apple pies, almond hazelnut crisps, rich homemade applesauce and this clafouti. I can make an apple something at the drop of a hat.

This clafouti recipe is an old French country dessert with a batter that holds together whatever fruits are ripe in the back yard. It’s one of those recipes that everyone asks for. When I bring it to family parties, sweet old Uncle Phil has as many helpings as he can nab. When I ask him if he’s had a bite his eyes just twinkle and he shrugs his shoulders and then looks over at empty pie plate. I’ve worked it over from a recipe I found in Savuer by Sally Schmitt, who owned The French Laundry until 1994. I leave out the cinnamon, much of the butter, and the cream becomes milk, but I don’t skimp on the brandy.

It is an aromatic and plump, heady dessert, so let it glow in your favorite deep dish pie plate. I use a10-inch Emile Henry, but if I had an old French oval pottery dish I’d switch to that. The batter creeps gently between the apple slices so in the end each slice is held lightly against its neighbor, in a state of sweet creaminess.

Apple Clafouti
by Alicia Arter

3 eggs
1 cup low-fat milk
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
¼ tsp. salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

For the apples:
1 Tbsp. butter
4 apples, using three or four different types
½ cup sugar
3 Tablespoons of brandy

For the pie plate:
½ teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1. Peel and core the apples, then slice in ½-inch thick pieces (so they cook uniformly).
2. In a large frying pan on medium heat, melt the butter and then add the sugar and rum. 3. Stir to blend. Add the apples and stir to coat. Cook for 10 minutes covered until apples are beginning to get softer. When done, reserve the juice in the pan to glaze the clafouti just before serving.

Pie Plate:
1. Grease the pie plate with the butter then coat with the sugar. Put it in the oven to warm while you make the batter.

1. While the apples cook, put all the batter ingredients in a food processor and blend thoroughly. There will be no lumps in the batter.

1. Take the hot pie plate out of the oven and fill with about 2 cups of the batter. Put the apple slices in the pie plate and then cover with the rest of the batter. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of sugar over the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes until golden and the center is set. When done, remove from oven and pour the pan juices over the top. Serve warm or cooled.

Recipe (C) Alicia Arter 2009. Do not publish without permission