If you were to ask me why I love this Apple Gateau with Calvados Crème Sauce recipe, I would be quick to tell you that it’s easy. And for me, easy is good when it comes to baking. I’m not about to call myself an expert baker, or pastry maker of any acclaim for that matter. You see, baking is a chore for me. I think the exact science of baking challenges my right brain tendency for improvisation. I have a keen appreciation for pastry artisans who seem to sift through complicated recipes without hesitation. I, however, belabor the process while contemplating imminent failure. Try as I may, I am a novice and will always be a student.
But, I do have a knack for seeing an opportunity when it comes along, and I am no amateur when it comes to seeing the potential of elevated ingredients. The Honeycrisp apples at Fresh Market were calling my name. I don’t often see Honeycrisps, but when I do it’s hard not to answer the call. I remembered the superb Calvados that was hidden in the back of my liquor cabinet and the perfect gateau was coming together in my mind.
A well-aged, top shelf bottle is not cheap, but Calvados, the apple brandy from the French region of Normandy, is one of those versatile liqueurs that I use often in dishes, both sweet and savory. You can flambé and reduce it for a simple sauce over grilled duck breast or with brown sugar and sliced apples for a simple Apples Foster.
I like the way this Apple Gateau with Calvados Crème Sauce recipe balances tart fruit with sweet creaminess against the delicate crumb of a perfectly baked cake. The French liqueur adds elegance that makes this a special occasion for any dinner.
Pros take note: This is a top shelf, top chef dish that anyone can do.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 apples, such as Honeycrisp, cored, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 cup apple cider
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup Calvados apple brandy
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- In a large mixing bow, add the flour and baking powder along with the sugar and combine. Whisk the cream, eggs, lemon rind, and oil together in a bowl. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. In a sauté pan over medium heat, add the butter. Once melted, add the apple slices, and cook until just beginning to soften. Fold the apples into the combined ingredients. Spread the batter into a buttered pan and bake for approximately 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- In a saucepan over low heat, add the apple cider and sugar. Stir until it turns syrupy. Whisk in the butter and when thoroughly blended, remove from heat. Add the Calvados and cream. Stir until combined and thickened.
- Slice the gateau and top with a drizzle of the sauce. Serve warm or room temperature along with a cup of hot Louisiana coffee.
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