Monday, March 4, 2013

Apple clafoutis

Things are a little up in the air right now. And money's getting tight. And what's the best way to feel like you have some control over the chaos that is your life? That's right, by cooking something.

Specifically, by turning things that are about to go bad into actual food. I spent the morning doing just that, in an effort to not feel completely powerless. I made a batch of tomato sauce with ground pork, another batch of red beans and rice, and this apple clafoutis, with some apples that were turning soft.

I used this recipe from the New York Times, reprinted below. Then I ate most of it and called it lunch.

4 large, slightly tart apples, like Pink Lady or Braeburn (2 to 2 1/4 pounds)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
1/2 vanilla bean, split, or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup low-fat milk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10- or 10 1/2-inch ceramic tart pan, baking dish or clafoutis dish. Peel, core and slice the apples into 16ths. Toss with the lemon juice in a large bowl.

Heat the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until they begin to look translucent, about four minutes. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir together until the apples have softened slightly and begun to caramelize, six to eight minutes. Remove from the heat, and transfer to the baking dish.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the seeds from the vanilla bean or the vanilla extract. Add the sugar and salt, and whisk together. Slowly beat in the flour, then add the yogurt and milk. Whisk until thoroughly blended. Pour over the apples in the baking dish.

Place in the oven, and bake 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the clafoutis is firm and puffed. Check by pressing lightly on the middle. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack, or serve warm.

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