It is once again apple season, and Steve has been bringing home several pounds of the fruit each time he goes to the market. While he’s happy to eat them out of hand, Michelle has been enjoying the chance to make tarte Tatin, apple crisp, clafoutis and other good desserts.
Searching for something newish, she returned to Camille Glenn’s The Fine Art of Delectable Desserts, a 1980s-era philanthropic project from the legendary Louisville chef, teacher and author we’ve mentioned before. This “Normandy Pudding” doesn’t at all match up to our memories of tergoule, the traditional Norman pudding of rice, milk and spices. Michelle believes Glenn thought “Norman” = “apples and Calvados,” though Steve thinks Glenn’s mention of this tart as “the apple’s finest hour” subtly references a different aspect of Normandy. Wherever the “Norman” name came from, we did enjoy this eggy, interesting dish made with almond macaroons.
The dessert developed a different texture after it had cooled. Out of the oven, its airiness edged toward a soufflé. On the second round, it seemed more like a clafoutis. We switched Glenn’s cornstarch-thickened Calvados sauce with an adaptation of one from Laurent Tourondel in New York Magazine, and liked the results.
It may seem a bit old-fashioned, and definitely not what most think would be a “Norman pudding.” But, warm or cold, it’s a lovely way to enjoy an apple or two.
- 3 TB + 3 TB butter
- 4 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 1/4 c. + 1/2 c. sugar
- 3 TB flour
- 1 c. milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 TB vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 TB Calvados
- 3/4 c. crumbled macaroon cookies*
- 5 egg whites
- Pinch of salt
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large nonstick skillet or sauté pan. Add sliced apples. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar. Sauté, tossing occasionally, until beginning to become tender. Increase heat and continue to cook, tossing more frequently, until apples begin to caramelize.
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Butter a 1-1/2 quart shallow baking dish. Add half of the cooked apples.
Melt remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Add flour and blend with a whisk to make a roux. Cook off flour, then slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating hard with the whisk. Then add egg yolks. Continue to cook, stirring constantly with either a whisk or a wooden spoon, until mixture thickens to a loose pudding-like consistency. Set aside.
Beat egg whites with salt until they form stiff peaks. Fold a small amount of the beaten whites into the pudding mixture. Using a rubber spatula, push away some of the beaten whites from the side of the bowl. Pour in pudding mixture and fold completely into egg whites.
Pour half of the pudding/egg white mixture on top of the apples in the pan and gently level out. Cover with remaining apples. Sprinkle cookie crumbles over. Cover with remaining pudding/egg white mixture and gently level.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until top is slightly browned and pudding is fairly firm. Serve immediately with Calvados sauce.
*We used this recipe off the box of almond paste. However, they browned a little quickly. 325° F worked better than the called-for 350° in our oven.
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- Generous pinch of salt
- 1/4 c. heavy cream
- 1 TB butter
- 2 TB Calvados
While pudding is cooking, mix all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved and sauce is slightly thickened.