My new favorite snack is bittersweet chocolate (at lease 85%) eaten with a few nibbles of a medjool date. It is so luscious. For awhile I thought I wasn’t really a dessert person, but I have come to realize I do love dessert quite a lot: I just like it my way. A lot of desserts are so sickeningly sweet. I think my palate is sensitive to added sugar in food because I don’t drink sugary drinks or protein bars.
I don’t believe in cutting sugar completely out of one’s diet. Your have to feed your soul as well as your body, after all. But I think the amount of sugar in the modern diet numbs the palate and causes overconsumption. The same goes for zero calorie sweeteners like stevia and ethyritrol.
After years of consuming protein bars, I realized I don’t need or want my snack to taste like “chocolate chip cookie dough.” I don’t need a super-sweetened “peanut butter bar” when plain old peanut butter spread on fresh fruit tastes just as good. At work, I now often enjoy the pure taste of plain raw cashews for a snack and save the sugar for dessert. I don’t feel deprived at all.
Lately I have been really enjoying baking dessert myself, so I can adjust the sugar level to suit my taste. One of my favorites of late is apple clafoutis.
Clafoutis is a mildly-sweet French dessert traditionally made with cherries. However, you can used any number of fresh or dried fruit. I guess the technical term is flaugnarde, rather than clafoutis, if you are not using cherries. You will find many variations of clafoutis on the web. Some prefer it eggier, some more cake-like. Some prefer to pour the batter into a hot, greased pan so the bottom turns into a pancake while others simply butter and sugar the pie plate before sticking the clafoutis in the oven.
Clafoutis seems to be on of those dishes that is either loved or hated. It is very eggy and quiche-like and I personally enjoy that. It is important not to overwork or overcook the batter to prevent it from becoming very rubbery, however.
Here is my version:
For the batter:
1 cup whole milk or half and half
1 tsp. vanilla extract
⅔ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
For the apples:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 semi-tart apples, like pink ladies or braeburn
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp ceylon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add the flour and salt, and then the milk. Do not overwork it. Set aside while slicing and preparing the apples.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apple slices, brown sugar, and a generous amount of ceylon cinnamon. Cook until the apples are glazed and soft.
Lightly butter a 10” pie plate and sprinkle with 1 tsp of brown sugar mixed with 1 tsp of ceylon cinnamon. Gently re-whisk the clafoutis batter and pour into the pie plate. Place apples gently on top. Bake until it is golden and set in the center, about 25-30 minutes.
This is best served warm, but it is also good at room temperature.