Well, not really a big compromise and I guess that’s the point. In all my talk of eating healthy in between the holidays, we still need a little dessert now and then. I love clafouti, with its amazing texture between a cake and a custard, that little touch of booze for flavor and richness, and the fruit—fresh apples, cherries or pears. It’s not hard to make, isn’t overly sweet and it ticks off a lot of boxes in the happy dessert category for me.
I’ve tried many recipes from a very lean version that was, well, more like a heavy custard and not of the most pleasant texture, to some very cake-like recipes, to Ina Garten’s luxurious and rather caloric one topped with crème fraiche. In the end, I’ve decided a little bit of compromise works well for me in the clafouti arena and I’ve adapted from several recipes, including Ina’s, to come up with this one which you just can’t feel too bad about eating! We enjoy this little dessert a lot and I hope you will, too.
Apple Clafouti (Adapted from Ina Garten)
1 Tablespoon + 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
3 large eggs
6 Tablespoons of all purpose flour
1/2 scant teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup reduced fat milk (1% or 2%, not fat free)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of finely grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 oz. of cognac or brandy
2 small to medium sized fresh apples, cored, peeled and cut into slices
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting, about 1/8 cup
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 10″ inch round baking dish (or equivalent) and sprinkle the 1 Tablespoon of sugar over the bottom and sides.
Beat the eggs and the 1/3 cup of granulated sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the flour, cinnamon, cream, milk, vanilla extract, orange zest, salt and cognac or brandy. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile arrange the apple slices in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared baking dish, fanning them out slightly. Pour the batter evenly over the apple slices and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, about 35 minutes. It will puff up, but will deflate when removed from the oven. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then sprinkle the top with confectioner’s sugar. Cut into 6-8 slices. Serve warm or at room temperature.