Crunch, crack, slurp goes the fresh, raw apple as I bite into it and rip off a chunk, its juice dripping down my chin. Mmmm, yum, gulp I go as I dive into a cinnamon-laced apple pie. Brrrr! Is my reaction to a smooth apple sorbet while a hot apple crumble yields up its buttery crunch.
There are so many ways to have your apples! As far back as Eve and the serpent, the apple has been a versatile flavour and ingredient in a multitude of dishes from a multitude of cuisines. It came as a surprise to me, however, in a clafoutis recipe by very first food hero, Julia Child. I’m sure you remember that lovely movie, “Julie and Julia” about a woman named Julie who decides to cook every recipe in Julia Child’s pioneering cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and records it in a blog. (If you haven’t seen it and you love to cook, it’s definitely worth renting.) Well, I’ve never had the urge to cook all of her recipes but back in the 70’s my Mom basically taught herself to cook proper French food from this two-volume set, and I remember running home from school to watch “The French Chef” which was the first cooking show on American TV. I have inherited Mom’s copy of her book – and her love of cooking – and they both continue to inspire me today.
The classic fruit used in Clafoutis is cherries, whose sharp tang contrasts delightfully with the egg, sugar and flour batter that bakes up around them. It’s the perfect summer dessert. Now that we’re solidly into Autumn – what the hey, it’s nearly Christmas! – and my fruit drawer is full of the last apples from Tongham Community Wood, I’m perfectly happy to trust Julia’s culinary judgement. It’s only right that I find a suitable culinary destination for my foraged gifts of nature, and Julia Child’s Apple Clafoutis seemed the perfect choice, the perfect showcase.
Julia Child’s Apple Clafoutis, Thermomix Style
Recipe adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 2 by Julia Child and Simone Beck (Alfred A. Knopf, 1970) where it is described as “Sliced Apples Baked with Rum, Raisins, Eggs and Cream.” Julia says, “This is every bit as good as the finest apple tart, but not quite as filling because the apples are baked in a dish rather than in a tart shell.” We particularly like the buttery flavour that is enhanced with a hint of cinnamon. Serves 8 to 10.
|50 g dried currants or sultanas||a small bowl|
|50 g dark rum||a 10 x 16 inch/ 25 x 40 cm rectangular baking tray such as a Swiss roll tray|
|100 g melted butter|
|100 g sugar||a 1.5 L/6 cup baking & serving dish|
|1 kg cooking apples|
|3 large eggs|
|100 g sugar|
|50 g plain flour|
|about 60 g single cream|
|¼ tsp cinnamon|
- Preheat the oven to 180° C/375° F. Place a small bowl on top of your Thermomix, press the weighing scales button to set them to zero, and weigh the currants and rum into the bowl. Set aside to soak.
- Melt the butter in the Thermomix 50° C/3 minutes/Speed Spoon. Wash and core the apples but do not peel them. Cut into 1-cm slices. Spread the butter in the bottom of your baking tray. Sprinkle over 100 g of sugar. Coat the apple slices with the butter and sugar (use your hands or two big spoons) and spread into a single layer in the baking tray. Bake about 25 minutes or until apples are tender but retain their shape. Transfer cooked apples to baking/serving dish, making sure to scrape all the cooking juices from the tray over the apples.
- Insert the butterfly whisk and add the eggs and 100 g of sugar to your Thermomix bowl. Beat 3 minutes/Speed 4 until the mixture is light and creamy. Remove the butterfly whisk. Add the flour and cinnamon. Insert the internal steamer basket to use as a strainer. Press the weighing scales button and carefully weigh the rum from the currants as you pour it into the bowl. Reserve the currants. Now pour single cream through the steamer basket until the total weight reaches 100 g. (Got that? You need 100 g of liquid made up of the raisin-soaking rum and some single cream.) Remove the internal steamer basket and mix 30 seconds/Speed 5 to form a smooth batter.
- Sprinkle the drained currants over the apples and pour over the batter. Bake 25 minutes or until nicely browned and a skewer inserted into the batter comes out clean. Serve hot, warm or cold. Good on its own or with custard, cream, or crème fraîche.
Bon appétit !