This French dessert of apples cooked in a brandy syrup, and covered with a sweet batter, is then baked. Just dust with icing sugar and serve this clafoutis warm, ladled with cream, to make a delicious dessert.
70g (2½ oz) plain/cake and pastry flour, sifted (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
¼ tsp salt
1 heaped tsp icing/powdered sugar sifted
You will also need a large frying pan/skillet and a round 25.5cm (10 inch) diameter ovenproof dish with a depth of 5cm (2 inches), greased with a little butter.
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) (gas 4)
Peel, quarter and core the apples. Then cut each quarter into wedges about 1cm (½ inch) thick.
Melt the butter in the frying pan/skillet and, when it begins to foam, add the apple wedges. Toss to coat with the butter and then cook the apples over a medium heat, turning occasionally, until they begin to soften and turn golden in colour, about 5 minutes.
Lower the heat and add 55g (2 oz) (¼ cup) of the sugar, cinnamon, and brandy and stir to coat the apple wedges. Cook for a further 2 minutes until the sugar has dissolved, creating a golden sauce. Remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the apples to absorb some of the liquid.
Now using a slotted spoon, pile the apples into the prepared dish and scrape the juice into a measuring jug. Add milk to the jug to make the liquid up to 300ml (10 fl oz) (1¼ cups). Whisk to combine the milk and the juice.
Pour into a blender along with the eggs, remaining sugar, vanilla extract, flour, and salt. Blend on high for 1 minute, scraping the sides down with a spatula until the batter is smooth. (The ingredients can also be whisked together until there is a smooth batter – it is just easier with a blender.)
Pour the batter over the apples, sprinkle the extra teaspoon of sugar on top and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 1 hour, until the batter has puffed up and is golden. To test whether the batter is cooked, pierce in the centre with a skewer and it should come out clean.
Leave to cool for about 5 minutes then serve warm with a dusting of icing/powdered sugar.
Preparing the apples as a purée and then mixing with meringue make these filled crêpes very light. They are finished off in the oven where they will puff up and look quite impressive. Then a dusting of cinnamon – this a very different type of crêpe.
240ml (8 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (1 cup) and 60ml (2 fl oz) water (¼ cup)
For the filling
565g (1¼ lb) dessert apples (4 medium)
120ml (4 fl oz) water (½ cup)
3½ tbsp caster/superfine sugar
20g (¾ oz) butter, softened (1½ tbsp)
3 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), whites only
ground cinnamon for dusting
You will also need a shallow-rimmed, lightweight pan, 20–23cm (8–9inch) in diameter with rounded sides for the crêpes and four shallow, ovenproof dishes, each large enough to take two folded and filled 15cm (6 inch) crêpes.
First make up the batter for the crêpes. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the egg into the well and, using half the milk, gradually whisk the egg and milk into the flour, using a balloon whisk. Once a smooth consistency is reached and lots of bubbles rise to the surface, add the rest of the milk quickly. Do not over-mix.
Or use an electric mixer. First mix the egg and milk together then mix in the sifted flour and salt until the batter is smooth and lots of bubbles rise to the surface. Be careful not to over-mix.
Let batter rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, quarter and core the apples and place in a large pan. Add the water, cover the pan, and cook over a low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced to a pulp.
Now to cook the crêpes. Get the pan really hot and then reduce to a moderate heat – about the temperature needed for frying an egg. Use oil or butter to grease the pan. If using oil, use groundnut or another flavourless oil (not olive oil) and pour a little in a small bowl. If using butter, melt a large knob of butter in the pan and then pour into a small bowl. Add a little oil or butter to the pan and tilt the pan to cover the base. It should just glisten, not run with oil or butter.
Stir the batter, then pour about 45ml (3 tablespoons) of batter in the centre of the pan for each crêpe. Immediately lift and tilt the pan in all directions to spread the batter. You are aiming to make a 15cm (6 inch) crêpe.
Turn when the batter starts to curl away from the sides of the pan, the mixture begins to bubble and the underside is golden. It should take about a minute. If it seems a bit sticky, give it a couple of seconds more. Loosen the edge of the crêpe from the pan, then flip it over with a palette knife and cook until the underside is golden. Slip each cooked crêpe from the pan directly onto a piece of kitchen paper which will absorb any grease and keep it light and dry. Repeat the process with the rest of the batter, greasing the pan each time, until you have 8 crêpes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Now once the apples have been reduced to a pulp, turn up the heat and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes until thick. Stir continuously to prevent the apple catching on the bottom of the pan.
Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and stir to melt the sugar.
Now to make the meringue. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff.
Add the remaining sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the meringue is glossy.
Stir a quarter of the meringue into the apple to loosen it a little, then fold in the rest.
Spoon 2–3 tablespoons of the meringue mixture over half of each crêpe. Then fold the other half of the crêpe over the meringue mixture.
Grease the ovenproof dishes with butter and place two crêpes in each dish, a little apart so they are not touching. Bake for 10–12 minutes until puffed up and hot.
Dust with cinnamon and serve immediately before the soufflé has a chance to sink.
These buttermilk pancakes with apple and maple syrup are thicker, North American-style pancakes. The addition of the buttermilk in the pancakes and the topping of sweet dessert apples, all smothered with maple syrup, make this a delicious dessert.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir in the sugar. Make a well in the centre and add the buttermilk, eggs and most of the milk. Gradually whisk the flour into the wet ingredients, adding enough extra milk to make a smooth, fairly thick batter. Stir in the vanilla extract and then set aside to stand for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2 and warm 6 plates.
Peel, core and thickly slice the apples. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the apple slices in a single layer. Dust with the icing sugar and cook over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes on each side until golden. Tip onto a warmed plate, cover with foil and keep warm in the oven while cooking the pancakes.
Heat a large, heavy gauged frying pan over a medium heat and melt the butter in it. Pour into a small bowl and use this to smear the pan between cooking each pancake using a wodge of kitchen paper. The pan should be lightly greased, not running with butter. Add 4 tablespoonfuls/¼ cup of batter and cook for 1–2 minutes until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake and the underside is golden brown. Turn and cook for a further minute. Lift out on to a warmed plate, cover loosely with foil, and pop back in the oven to keep warm. Repeat using the remaining batter until there are 12 pancakes.
Pile three pancakes on each plate and top with the apple slices, pour over some maple syrup and serve with a spoonful of crème fraîche.