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Claire - Chef's Cookware

Autumn Apple Clafouti

25th September 2006 11:36
This is an Autumnal (and American) variation on the traditional French clafouti.

For the batter you will need
110 grams plain flour
100 grams sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
250 milk milk

For the apple mixture you will need
1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
30 grams unsalted butter
Pinch salt
350 grams peeled and sliced cooking apple (Bramley is probably still the best)
30grams sugar
5 - 15 ml Calvados, or other fruit brandy

And to serve
Icing sugar
Creme fraiche, cream or yoghurt

Pre-heat you oven to 200C / gas 6

Sift the flower into a medium to large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Add the egg mixture gradually to the dry ingredients beating steadily until you have a smooth batter.

For the Apple mixture, melt the butter over a low heat in a 10 inch overnproof saute pan. Meanwhile split the vanilla pod with a sharp knife and scoop the seeds into the butter. Toss in the pod and keep on the heat until the butter just starts to colour.

Meanwhile, wash, peel core and slice the apples. This is most easily done if you have one of those old-fashioned but clever all-in-one apple peeler, corer, slicers. Add the apples to the butter in the pan and cook for a minute or two over the low to medium heat. Sprinkle over the sugar and, stirring occasionally, cook over a low heat. You want the apples to retain their shape and texture while being coated with a spicy syrup.

Now for the exiciting part. Warm the brandy in a ladle over a low heat. Remove the pan containing the apple mixture from the heat, flame the brandy and pour into the mixture. Return it to a low heat and toss until the flame dies down. Spread out the mixture evenly if you need to.

Now working quickly, take your batter and pour it over the the apple mixture. Put it all into the middle of your pre-heated oven. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the edges of the batter are risen and coloured and the middle is just firm to the touch.

Sieve over some icing sugar and serve warm directly from the pan. You can serve with cream, creme fraiche or yoghurt. If you are feeling lavish, whisk the cream beforehand with a little more brandy.

One attractive variation is to cook and serve in individual mini casserole dishes. Don't forget to get these hot in the pre-heating oven while you are preparing the batter and apple mixture. You will need less cooking time depending on the exact size of the mini dish.

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