Custardy Apple Squares


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).

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  • Reply
    Mardi Michels
    October 11, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    This is so good, isn't it? I have made mini versions in muffin tins before and it's good like that too as an individual dessert!

  • Reply
    October 11, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Yes, muffin tins would show off these apple custard desserts very nicely. Another good idea!

  • Reply
    October 11, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    I love your rendition of this dessert – so pretty as individual servings. And I thoroughly admire your ability to throw a dessert together while you have guests over. If I don't have something made in advance, they get nothing!

  • Reply
    October 13, 2016 at 10:28 am

    This was delish – I love all the visible layers in your photo.

  • Reply
    October 13, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    You can get away with a dessert that is less than perfect, when the guests see the process of making it. That may become a conversation in and of itself.

  • Reply
    steph- whisk/spoon
    October 16, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    oh Asian pear–that sounds like a delicious add-in!

  • Reply
    Diane Zwang
    October 18, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    This was easy to make. I am glad you liked it and will add it to your rotations.

  • Reply
    October 27, 2016 at 12:31 am

    I'm very happy to have added this recipe to my repertoire, too. So delicious and with so much possibility for variations. Your layers look absolutely beautiful.

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