Clafouti!

Before the International Herald Tribune (aka NYTimes global) became a paid-subscription site, I was an avid daily reader. Now I skim the headlines and have become far more selective in the articles I choose.

I was particularly fond of the lifestyle-esque sections, as they frequently posted interesting recipes, reviews, and useful tips. A little while back, I came across a recipe for Apple Clafouti, it met my requirements: it looked easy, and it looked tasty.

The idea behind the recipe was to make a “healthier” dessert, using low-fat milk and yogurt. Because Oliver will (hopefully) be partaking in this concoction (and he needs all the fat and calories he can get), the low-fat milk was replaced with full-fat, and I found the fattiest yogurt available at Safeway (not an easy task in the land of low-fat/no-fat everything).  Apparently apples contain something healthy called phytonutrients, I happen to think apples are tasty, and Oliver enjoys them so any extra benefits are a bonus.

I posted about my plans to make apple clafouti on twitter, within moments Gavin hollered downstairs “You’re making apple WHAT!?” I’m not sure how to pronounce clafouti either.

I finally got around to printing the recipe today, and decided to give it a try.

I made a few modifications, I used two heaping tablespoons of brown sugar, instead of the recommended “light brown sugar, preferably organic.” I used a small tub of full-fat greek yogurt, and whole milk. I also left the peels on the apples, because I loathe peeling them. I’m pretty sure the ceramic dish I used was not designed specifically for clafouti, looking at photos I probably should’ve used something wider and shallower.

As I was caramelizing the apples praise came from above. Gavin hollered from the office “Something smells really good!” Hopefully it tastes as good as it smells. We will be waiting until after dinner this evening to dig in (or possible breakfast tomorrow, depending on how the evening goes).

the clafouti fresh from the oven, it has since fallen

I don’t remember exactly when I snagged this recipe, but it was well before I hit my 20-article a month limit.

Update (later 4-11-11):

The clafouti was still slightly warm to the touch when I cut into it. The batter formed a slightly springy crust over the apples, which slid around and attempted to escape the spoon.

A few notes to self: use a larger, shallower baking dish so the apples bake into the crust instead of parallel to it; find some sort of spice to put in the batter, it is a little bland, although baking it with the apples in it might make a difference. The apple peels make no difference and provide a nice bit of structure for the apples.

Overall, I would say it is a most excellent dish, although I think I will withhold final judgement until I see how it holds up overnight in the fridge and being reheated for breakfast.

Apple Clafouti – modified from the NYTimes

  • 4 large, slightly tart apples, such as Pink Lady or Braeburn (2 to 2 1/4 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (juice from one tiny lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick butter)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, preferably organic (liberal heaping tbsp brown sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split, or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sugar, preferably organic fair trade sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (full-fat greek yogurt)
  • 3/4 cup low-fat milk (whole milk)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10- or 10-1/2-inch ceramic tart pan, baking dish or clafouti dish.
  2. Peel, core and slice the apples into 16ths. Toss with the lemon juice in a large bowl. (I left the peels on, I hate peeling apples)
  3. Heat the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until they begin to look translucent, about four minutes. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir together until the apples have softened slightly and begun to caramelize, six to eight minutes. Remove from the heat, and transfer to the baking dish.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the seeds from the vanilla bean or the vanilla extract. Add the sugar and salt, and whisk together. Slowly beat in the flour, then add the yogurt and milk. Whisk until thoroughly blended. Pour over the apples in the baking dish.
  5. Place in the oven, and bake 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the clafouti is firm and puffed. Check by pressing lightly on the middle. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack, or serve warm.

Yield: Eight servings.

Advance preparation: Although the clafouti will fall slightly, you can make it several hours before serving. I usually serve clafouti at room temperature, so I prefer to make it early in the day if I’m cooking for a dinner party.


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