This Dorie Greenspan’s custardy apple squares remind me of another custardy fruit dessert, clafoutis, in which whole summer fruits, such as cherries and peaches, are generally baked in a flan-like batter. This is the season when there are an astonishing varieties of apple to choose from. In all colors, sizes, taste and crunchiness. I followed Dorie’s advice and picked Gala and Fuji. When she suggested that the combination of apples and pears are even better, I put in some Asian pears in the mix for good measure.
The clafoutis is considered my “back-pocket recipe” that I can pull off in a pinch and get freshly-baked desserts from the oven in short order. I did this many times that I’m quite comfortable with this last-minute routine. Make the batter while the dinner table is being cleared or the after-dinner drinks and coffee are being prepared. The batter uses a few everyday pantry items: flour, baking powder, eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla extract. As long as you get enough fresh cherries or peaches (or even frozen one which I had resorted to) available, an aromatic, warm and custardy dessert can emerge from the oven in less than 45 minutes. The same can be said about these custardy apple squares. Dorie added a small amount of butter to the batter, otherwise it is the same method as making clafoutis.
I peeled and thinly sliced (with a mandoline) one apple and one pear to make half of Dorie’s recipe in Baking Chez Moi. The batter uses the key ratios of one large egg (45 grams) to 33 grams of sugar: 37 ml of whole milk: 34 grams of flour. I can see the amount of sugar lowered significantly. (The ratios help me access, recall and scale the recipe more readily.) Instead of vanilla extract, I reached for Calvados for flavoring. Folded the apple/pear slices in the batter and arranged them in three single-serve mini square baking dishes. After 30 minutes in a 400°F oven, the custard turned golden brown and the sweet aroma permeated the air.
|Key ratios for the batter: one egg: 33g sugar: 37g milk: 34g flour|
So delighted to have found an alternate, back-pocket and wonderful fruit dessert I can turn to in a moment’s notice. When the summer season has come and gone, and cherries are giving way to the ubiquitous apples, it’s equally satisfying and endlessly adaptable to make this custardy apple dessert. Another bright idea from Dorie.
To see more tips from other bakers, please see the blogroll at Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD).