Our good friends have recently purchased a country home in Normandy: not far from Paris. They had loads of beautiful homegrown figs and they gave us a massive bag. I was thinking about our Paris Perfect cookery classes, so the first thing I did was make this divine apple and fig clafoutis. It’s a fruity and delicious dessert originally made with morello cherries, but the apples and figs complement each other perfectly.
No one says clafoutis – patoutis – it's a rhyme I made up and am the only one in my family who finds it funny. So just say, “clafoutis” in France. Clafoutis is a specialty of the Limousin area but it's a treat in any location; its plump and juicy base covered with a rich, creamy custard is delectable.
I used an brilliant recipe for fig and apple clafoutis and after I made it, we polished it off in two days. First for dessert, then for breakfast the following morning. It's so easy to make and totally scrumptious. What I personally savor in this special recipe is a tiny touch of rum in the custard – and most importantly – really good vanilla.
Here's the winning recipe:
CLAFOUTIS AUX POMMES ET FIGUES
For the baking dish:
2 tablespoons of butter
2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest
For the caramelized apples:
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar or demerara sugar
3 to 4 big apples, peeled, cored and sliced (if organic, don't peel them)
For the custard:
3 large eggs
2/3 cup whole milk (room temperature)
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons excellent vanilla (more below)
2 tablespoons rum or brandy
3/4 cup plain yoghurt (crème fraîche or sour cream works well too)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
6 to 10 figs, sliced in half (you can also use dried figs)
- Butter bottom of baking dish.
2. Combine two teaspoons brown or white sugar with lemon zest; sprinkle over butter.
To caramelize the apples:
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Peel and slice apples. Bake with butter, sugar and pinch of salt.
- Use a silicon mat or butter a cookie sheet. Melt the 4 tablespoons butter, combine 2 tablespoons sugar, zest of lemon. Arrange apples on silicon/cookie sheet and pour over the butter and sugar mixture.
- After 12 or so minutes, turn them over, coat with sugar mix and cook for another 10 minutes until a pretty caramel color.
To make the custard:
- Blend eggs in blender for a minute until really foamy. Then, pour in milk, rum and brandy.
- Add yogurt (or crème fraîche/sour cream) and 1/3 cup of sugar, flour, a teaspoon of salt and vanilla.
- Set oven to 375°F.
- When cooked, arrange caramelized apple slices on the bottom of the baking dish – reserve a few for the top. Arrange the figs all around dish and reserve a few for decoration.
- Pour custard mixture over and top with extra apples and figs.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
I try to cut back on sugar wherever possible. So, I didn't sprinkle the bottom of baking dish with the sugar and lemon zest mixture. Instead, I added the lemon zest to the custard mix and blended it together. It worked a charm!
I used my delicious homemade vanilla syrup. See the recipe below: the seeds are blended with the vodka. Chef Christian is right, it adds to the flavor and doesn't waste anything.
THE VANILLA SYRUP
I took the advice of our expert macaron Chef Christof on Rue Amelie. He makes his own vanilla for his baking. Put three vanilla pods in a jam jar, with about one and a half cups of vodka. Blitz it in the blender and let sit for a few weeks. It's just amazing. Try it for yourself – you won't regret it.
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