Flognarde – A Correze Classic
Sitting here in lockdown in France I miss cooking for our lovely guests, so I thought I would share a recipe with you of one of my most popular desserts – Flognarde. When we first opened in 2011, I would make a Tarte Tatin a week, but that was until I discovered this local variation of a classic French dish. Flognarde comes from Corrèze. It is the local version of Clafoutis, which also originated in the Limousin, but which traditionally features cherries. Clafoutis is a delight, although you must leave the stones in the fruit, as I found out to my cost. The stoned cherries leak their juice out to give you an oddly pink dessert! So, I avoid Clafoutis as the idea of forcing guests to spit out mouthfuls of stones across the dinner table is not appealing, not least the risk of accidental choking…
Flognarde then is a delight. It is traditionally made with Apples, although it works well with many other fruits such as apricots, pears and plums. You can also combine fruit with the apples such as myrtille-blueberries (pictured) or blackberries. Flognarde is not a heavy dessert and is universally popular with all ages. It is easy to prepare in advance, although best served warm, drizzled in apricot glaze with some Calvados cream
The ingredients are listed in American ‘cups’ as ironically the best recipe that I have found for this French classic comes not from a French cookbook, but from the legendary Julia Child. If you don’t have ‘cups’ – and we are not talking about teacups here people – then you can easily find measurement converters on google.
You will need a pan that can be used both on the hob and in the oven. I use a classic 28cm tarte tatin tin, but any heavy bottom pan will do. The Tefal frying pans with removable handles are ideal. If you don’t have anything like this, don’t panic, you can still make the Flognarde. Use a baking dish and omit the section where you heat it on the hob. The Flognarde will not have a caramelised bottom and the apples will sink more to the base, but it will still be delicious. You may have to add an extra 5 minutes or so onto the cooking time.
1 ¼ Cups whole milk
1 Cup plain Flour
2/3 cups caster sugar, divided
1 tsp Vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
Butter for greasing
3 -4 medium sized apples
Heat oven to 180 oC
Peel, Core and Slice the apples into 1-2cm slices. Set aside
In a stand mixer or blender, combine flour, milk, eggs, 1/3 cup of sugar (half the total amount) and salt until frothy. If you don’t have a blender you can use an electric whisk (my preferred option – less washing up!). You can also use a hand whisk – just make sure there are no lumps and that everything is well combined. At this point you can put the mix, covered, in the fridge until you want to bake it. This can be done up to 24 hours in advance – just give it a quick mix with a hand whisk just before using.
Generously butter your pan and put on the hob to heat. When the butter is starting to bubble pour in about 1 third of the batter, or enough to cover the base in a thin layer and allow to cook until set.
Remove from the heat and arrange apple slices creatively on the surface of the smooth batter layer. I prefer concentric circles. You can also sprinkle with blueberries at this point.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar evenly across the apples. Then carefully pour over the remaining batter
Put in the preheated oven and bake until puffed up and golden – around 40 minutes. The Flognarde will deflate a lot as it cools. Do not worry this is normal! After about 10 minutes run a spatula or similar around the edge and under the Flognarde to loosen it and turn it out onto a serving dish. If you wait until it is completely cold the pectin in the apple will stick to the bottom of the pan and it will be more difficult to get out.
Serve cut into wedges with some cream (I use crème fraiche sweetened with a pinch of icing sugar and about a teaspoon of calvados) and you can also add an apricot glaze. To make this you sieve apricot jam so that you have a smooth consistency and then add some alcohol (1tbsp approx.) of your choice to loosen it up – white rum or triple sec is good.