Winter Apple Gratin De Fruits (gf)

One of my first jobs in Belgium was in a kitchen where everyone spoke only French. As I was still learning and could barely get by, there were many awkward moments. I remember trying to read this recipe in French and decipher it. I was so nervous I was going to screw it up, but somehow a miracle happened and it turned out right. I am much better at reading French now than speaking it!

I like to make this for guests and I have put my own spin on this recipe. This is a simple recipe that you can prep ahead and finish just after dinner. It’s simple, but it is important that you choose good quality fruit and dairy. You don’t have to use apples you could use peaches, berries or even fruit left over in the freezer from summer. –Christine

4 apples cored and sliced (pick ones from the market that are seasonal, you are looking for something firm with a bit of tartness and sweetness)
2 T dark muscovado sugar
1 tonka bean*
½ c booze
150 ml Vital Greens Dairy Cream whipped to soft peaks
90 g sugar
6 egg yolks

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the apple slices in a single layer and sprinkle them with the brown sugar. Cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until lightly browned on both sides, about 6-8 minutes. Add the booze and grate in just a touch of the tonka bean. (Think of it like nutmeg, you don’t want to add too much as it’s very strong.) Cook until the juices evaporate and the apples are glazed, about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt. Spread the apples in a single layer in a 10-inch glass pie plate or use individual gratin dishes.

Whip the sugar and egg yolks until pale and fluffy. Gently fold in the whipped cream and a pinch of salt. The best way I find is to add the whipped cream all at once. Put the whipped cream right in the middle; then take your spatula from the middle, scraping from the bottom up towards you, then to the side and repeat around the bowl clockwise. You can jiggle the spatula a little while you are coming up from the bottom of the bowl. The main thing you don’t want to do is mix aggressively and deflate the mixture. Now your gratin cream base is ready and will hold in the refrigerator until needed.

Pre-heat the broiler, pour the gratin cream over top of the apples, just covering them. Place under the broiler until nicely browned and remove. About 4 minutes.

Makes 1 large or 4-5 smaller gratins.

*Find tonka beans at Silk Road.