Apples are one of Gourmandistan’s favorite fruits, especially now that, through vigorous research in several countries, we’ve honed in on a few favorites. We’re big fans of crisp, tart apples (although Steve, in a pinch, will eat just about any apple). In France, we prefer thick-skinned Boskoop or Canada varieties. In the U.S., we love GoldRush, developed at Indiana’s Purdue University and grown in large quantities at nearby Huber’s Orchard. Steve will happily gnaw his way through several a day, but his loud crunching sounds aren’t the most social use for the fruit. When friends are around, we prefer to make a nice clafouti—as we did in Gascony and at home today, with different sets of friends visiting from California.
Clafoutis taste great, and aren’t quite as involved as a pie or tarte tatin. And they can nicely highlight the flavor of really good apples while bringing the sweetness Michelle craves in a dessert. So if you visit Gourmandistan during apple season, don’t be surprised if you see a clafouti—or hear loud crunching noises several times a day.
(adapted from a Sally Schmitt recipe on saveur.com)
4 TB butter
3-4 tart apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 c. sugar
3 TB brandy (preferably Calvados or Armagnac)
Melt butter in a skillet. Add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring, until apples are glazed and slightly caramelized. This can be done ahead. Set aside.
2 or 3 eggs
1 c. milk
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Put a small amount of the melted butter in the bottom of a 10″ pie plate. Mix remaining batter ingredients in a blender.
Heat buttered pie pan on stove. When warm, pour in half of batter and turn off heat. Arrange apple slices over batter in pie pan, reserving juices. Pour remaining batter over apples.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. Midway through baking, sprinkle some sugar over the top.
Mix reserved apple juices with some more butter, some more brandy and (depending on the taste of the brandy you use) perhaps some sugar and vanilla. Drizzle sauce over slices of clafouti.