I'm not going to make the obvious sales pitch for the Brown Butter Candied Apple Clafoutis recipe from Aran Goyoaga's excellent new book, "Small Plates and Sweet Treats." No, I don't care that it's gluten free, although it's nice that it is and that's handy for some. No, I care that it's a great little recipe. Taking a classic like the clafoutis and reshuffling its very core is risky business. But Goyaoaga does it with such care and intelligence that you have to admire her gutsiness. In replacing flour with almond meal and milk with coconut milk, the clafoutis becomes less custard and more frangipane. Gayoaga has you brown the butter before dropping in the apples, and has you sprinkle them with raw sugar, and together the butter and sugar infuse the fruit with nuttiness, caramel and a depth that cuts through their sweetness. This kind of thoughtfulness can be found throughout her book, and in the photos and recipes on her wonderful blog, Cannelle et Vanille. —Amanda Hesser
plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened apple juice
stick unsalted butter, plus more for lining pie dish
medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
plus 3 tablespoons natural cane sugar
vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
Heat oven to 400 F. Butter a 10-inch deep-dish pie pan.
Pour 2 cups of the apple juice into a small saucepan. Cook over high heat for 12 minutes, until the juice is reduced to 1/2 cup. Let the reduced juice cool.
In a large saute pan, cook the butter over medium-high heat until the milk solids start to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the sliced apples, 3 tablespoons sugar, half of the vanilla seeds, and the remaining 1 tablespoon apple juice. Cook the apples over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes or until the apples are soft but not mushy. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, remaining vanilla seeds, almond flour, tapioca starch, and salt until smooth. Add the coconut milk and reduced apple juice, and whisk to combine.
Pour the custard into the buttered baking dish. Top with the cooked apples and juices. Bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.