If you have an apple and I have an apple
and we exchange these apples then you and I
will still each have one apple.
But if you have an idea and I have an idea
and we exchange these ideas,
then each of us will have two ideas. ~ George Bernard Shaw
Clafoutis (or clafouti) is a French batter cake, a specialty of the Limousin region, traditionally made with black cherries but also sometimes with prunes, apples, or other fruits.
My autumnal clafoutis recipe is adapted from a recipe from Sally Schmitt (of French Laundry fame).
1 cup half-and-half or cream
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup sweet brown rice flour
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp. salt
spices for infusion
6 whole cloves
1 whole cinnamon stick
8 whole star anise
3 whole peppercorns
½ whole Vanilla pod, scraped
½ nutmeg pod
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
½ cup sugar
4 tbsp. brandy or sweet sherry
½ tsp ground cinnamon
a pinch of Kosher salt
Add the infusion spices and the half-and-half in a pan and heat to just bubbling at the edges of the pan.
Turn off the heat and let cool on stovetop.
When cool, pour into a clean container and refirigerate for at least 6 hours. I do the infusion the night before to let the whole spices gently infuse into the cream.
Strain the infused cream before use.
(NOTE: This vanilla-spice infuse half-and-half is SO delicious, I try make a little extra to add it to my coffee or tea for a taste of autumn.)
Preheat oven to 400°.
Blend together by hand with a whisk, or in a blender, the milk, eggs, 6 tbsp. of the melted butter, vanilla, flour, sugar, and salt.
Whisk well until smooth, and set aside.
Grease a 10" pie plate or six ramekins with the remaining butter.
Put in the chill chest until you are ready to bake.
To make the apple mixture, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the sliced apples, ½ cup of sugar, brandy and cook gently until apples the sauce bubbles around the apples.
I added 2 whole star anise to my sauce and removed them after the sauce had cooled.
Turn off heat and set aside and let the apples cool to touch.
Pour in half the batter to your pan or ramekins.
Arrange the apple slices over batter, reserving juices, then pour remaining batter over apples.
Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over batter.
Bake until clafouti is golden and set in the center, 25–30 minutes, depending on your oven.
Right before I serve the clafoutis, I drizzled them with warmed reserved apple glaze.
The spice-infused cream provides the perfect amount of spicy kick to the tart-sweet apples. Hot from the oven or cool to room temperature, this desert embodies all that is autumn.
(NOTE: Since I was unable to find my glazed 10” calfoutis dish and used the ramekins, I had about 1/3 cup of batter left-over. It makes perfect pancakes, expeciall when topped with a bit of the glaze.)