A clafouti ["klah-foo-tee"] is a French dessert which became popular in the 19th century & is traditionally made with black cherries in a thick sweet batter, The name comes from the Occitan "clafotis", from the verb "clafir", which means "to fill", as in, "the fruit fills in the batter..." Since black cherries are not always readily available, I decided to adapt an old recipe into one using my husband's & my favorite apple, the Honey Crisp :) Wow, is this good---a nice change from crusts for pie or cobbler, & so comforting, especially served warm.
1Preheat oven to 350 for glass (& 375 for other pan types). Very important: Put the following ingredients into a blender OR use a large, very deep mixing bowl (if you don't, this recipe splatters all over---especially if using a hand-held mixer!): eggs, milk, whipping cream, 6 TB of the butter, vanilla, cinnamon, flour, & 1 1/4 cups of the sugar. Mix until smooth (blender or mixer) & set aside.
2Grease with butter or spray with olive oil a 10-inch pie plate or a 11 x 7 rectangular pan ( I use glass, & it works great & looks pretty!) Place it on a cookie sheet in the oven to heat.
3Meanwhile, melt 4 TB butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced, peeled Honey Crisp apples, 3/4 cup sugar, & 4 TB brandy (or brandy extract; if you are concerned about using brandy, the liquor will cook out), stirring often & cooking for 5-7 minutes. The aroma is wonderful, & the apples will produce the best juice, which will be used later :) The sugar, butter, & brandy will glaze the apples beautifully.
4Remove the pie plate or rectangular pan from the oven carefully to a flat surface. Immediately pour half of the batter into it. Using a slotted spoon or fork (or both!), place the apple slices into the batter, working carefully to place them (to avoid splatters). As the slices sink into the batter, it's OK to add more right over the top, until most of the apple slices are sitting in or on the batter :) Save any leftover apple slices & the pan juices---you will use it later. Immediately pour the other half of the batter over the apple slices. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top, & feel free to add a few extra pats of butter, too, if you wish.
5Bake until the clafouti is golden & set in the center (insert a toothpick; it should emerge clean), about 35-40 minutes or so if using a glass pan at 350, or 25-30 minutes if using a metal pan, etc. It will resemble a moist bread pudding in texture. For high altitude baking (I live at about 6000 feet), there is no need to add extra flour, but if you wish, you can add 2-3 extra TB.
6Remember those wonderful remaining apple slices & that heavenly-smelling juice in the skillet? Place a few extra apple slices over the top of each piece, & drizzle the apple juice over that, followed by a drizzle of clover honey---& maybe a dollop of whipped cream! Enjoy :)
7This recipe is also very good made with peaches (fresh, canned, or frozen) or Granny Smith apples.