Caramelized apples baked in a luscious custard, topped with cinnamon sugar – it’s apple season y’all!
If you know me, you know I’ve got a thing for clafoutis. For me, this classic french custardy dessert will never go out of style. My love affair has much to do with the simplicity of the process, as well as the convenience of nearly always having all ingredients on hand to whip one up at a moment’s notice.
It’s a quick blend of eggs, milk, butter, flour and sugar, poured into a tart pan and baked with fresh fruit du jour.
How something so basic can turn into something so delicious is magical.
Typically for the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, which fell earlier this week, I make an apple cake, or these amazing rugelach, but I had the notion to mix it up this year and landed on an apple clafoutis. It is SO good and appley, and full-on autumnal, that I must share- you’ll want to make it again and again throughout the fall season.
You may have noticed that I’m calling it an apple “Custard Cake,” and there is a reason for that.
Say “clafoutis” (pronounced: klä-fü-ˈtē), and one may think somebody in the room just sneezed😂. Not exactly a mainstream dessert.
And I like to be a descriptive as possible when naming recipes. Hence, custard cake… this describes it perfectly.
There is just the right amount of flour to knock it out of the realm of a true custard (think: creme brulee or flan), but not enough that it develops a crumb, like a traditional cake. Toss in a bunch of juicy fruit, and you’ve got one tasty treat.
Fall is the BEST time of year for everything appley! Before we all get sucked into the pumpkin black hole, lets celebrate APPLES!
Are there any tips or tricks when making this Caramelized Apple Custard Cake?
- The apples retain a bit of texture to them in the finished dessert. If you prefer them less “to the tooth”, to borrow an Italian translation, cook them longer in the skillet.
- You can make this ahead of time, and it will keep at room temperature for a few hours until ready to serve. I enjoy it slightly warmed, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but room temperature works as well.
- The batter, and the apples, can both be made ahead of time and refrigerated separately. The sauce in the apples may solidify in the refrigerator, and if that happens, rewarm in the microwave, stirring once or twice during heating, so that you can easily pour them over the batter. Assemble just before baking.
- If you prefer not to use alcohol, leave out the rum, and use lemon juice instead.
Caramelized Apple Custard Cake
For the batter:
- 6 tablespoons butter melted (plus more for buttering the pan)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- ⅔ cup 80 grams all-purpose flour
- ½ cup 100 grams granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
For the apples:
- 4 medium apples about 2 pounds, peeled and sliced ½-inch thick
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup 100 grams light brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- ½ vanilla bean optional, or substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon mixed with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Optional vanilla ice cream for serving
- Preheat your oven to 350 F. Butter a deep 10-inch pie plate.
- Place all of the ingredients for the batter in a blender. It helps if the milk and eggs are not fridge-cold so they don’t cause the melted butter to solidify again. Blend until thoroughly combined. (This can also be done by hand in a large bowl, whisking vigorously so that there are no lumps). Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium skillet and add the apples, sugar, rum and a pinch of salt. If using the vanilla bean, split the bean in half lengthwise and scrape the beans from the pod, adding them to the pan as well. Bring to a simmer then cook over medium heat until the apples are softened and caramelized, about 15-18 minutes, stirring often. The apples will have a firm texture in the finished cake, however if you prefer the apples to be softer, continue to cook them for another 10-15 minutes, partially covered over low heat.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, then evenly distribute the apples over the batter, pouring the juices from the pan on top. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar, then place in your preheated oven.
- Bake for 45 minutes, until set and golden brown. Remove and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. The dessert can be made a few hours ahead and kept at room temperature. If you like, rewarm slightly before serving, with or without the optional ice cream.