Caramel Apple + Whiskey Clafoutis

Classic French, with a splash of Irish.  Pretty much sums up me.  It also sums up this dish.  Here I go again with the whiskey.

Caramel Apple and Irish Whiskey Clafoutis, text, recipe and photo courtesy of Edible-Ireland

Serves 4 to 6

If you cook the apples the night before and stash them in the fridge overnight, this would take only minutes to pull together in the morning. Just reheat the apples to loosen up the caramel sauce again, if necessary. You could also use brandy or calvados instead of the whiskey. Clafoutis have a tendency to sink soon after they come out of the oven, which can make them quite dense (but no less delicious). If you want it to be a bit lighter and airier and hold its shape better, add 1/2 teaspoon baking powder to the dry ingredients.

for the batter:
80 g (2/3 cup) flour
75 g (1/3 cup) sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 large eggs
100 g (6 tablespoons) butter, melted
250 ml (1 cup) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

for the caramel apples:
30 g (2 tablespoons) butter
4 crisp eating apples, peeled, cored and sliced
60 g (1/3 cup) light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 or 3 tablespoons Irish whiskey

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Butter a 25 cm (10 inch) pie plate or cast iron skillet or large individual ramekins.

To make the caramel apples, melt a knob of butter in a large pan over a medium-high heat. When it’s sizzling, reduce the heat to medium and tip in the apples, sugar and cinnamon, stirring to coat the apples in the butter and sugar. Cook the apples for about 5 minutes, until they have softened and the sugar has turned syrupy. Keep warm.

Whisk the flour, sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, melted butter, milk and vanilla. Pour half of the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisking until it looks like a paste, then add in the rest of the liquid, whisking until the batter is smooth and well blended. (Alternatively, you could just place all the batter ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth.)

Place the pie plate or skillet on a baking sheet to catch any drips when the clafoutis is cooking in the oven. Pour in the batter, then using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to the plate or skillet, leaving as much of the caramel sauce in the pan as you can and making sure the apples are evenly distributed. Bake the clafoutis in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the clafoutis is puffed up and golden brown and the centre is set.

About 5 minutes before the clafoutis is done, reheat the caramel in the pan to loosen it again, then stir in the whiskey and allow to cook for 1 or 2 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Serve the clafoutis warm with the caramel whiskey sauce drizzled over.

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