Here it is, the infamous Calvados and Apple Flan from Normandy!
On a recent trip to Normandy, we ate at La Ferme St Michel, and I had the most amazing Calvados and Apple Flan for dessert. It was tender, fruity and intensely fragrant, thanks to the Calvados Apple Brandy.
So of course, as soon as I was back in in my kitchen in Canada two weeks later, I couldn’t resist making one (and it certainly won’t be the last one I will be making this fall/winter)!
Being from Brittany, I grew up eating the “Far Breton”, which is the same eggy-buttery flan, but filled with dried prunes soaked in Armagnac. This Apple Flan from Normandy, also known as “Far Normand” is filled with apples soaked in Calvados. (If you’re not sure what Calvados is, or how it’s made, read my previous post about my visit to a Calvados distillery in Normandy).
It is one of the most popular desserts from Normandy. It is widely served in restaurants (usually with a drizzle of salted caramel on top) or sold by the wedge in almost every local bakery.
Some people like it buttery, rich and dense. And some people like it light and creamy. I think this version is situated perfectly in the middle. It has a firm base, capable of holding a generous amount of apples and a creamy top, with a slight caramelization on the edges.
This dessert is very simple to make, and quick too! The batter only requires one bowl and is similar to making a sweet crêpe batter. You might be surprised how “liquidy” the batter is, but it is actually normal (don’t expect to get a cake-like batter). And just like crêpe batter, it must rest in your fridge for at least 1 or 2 hours before baking it. (even better, prepare the batter the day before, and let it rest overnight in the fridge).
Soaking the apples in calvados really makes the dish. Calvados, being an apple brandy, compliments perfectly the tartness of the fresh apples and adds so much character to the batter (but without too much sweetness.). If you do not have calvados, another type of brandy, or rhum, would work nicely too (though, I think calvados is really the best match for this dish).
For those who really do not want any alcohol in this dish, you can replace the tablespoon of calvados with one teaspoon of vanilla extract.
I hope you enjoy this Normandy classic. It’s custardy, fruity and not too sweet. It is perfect freshly out of the oven for a gourmet weekend breakfast, or served as a comforting dessert (with a drizzle of caramel). It is also a great snack, cut up in big wedges.
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment or share a photo using #pardonyourfrench on Instagram.
Calvados and Apple Flan from NormandyPrint This
125g all-purpose flour
75 g sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
50 cl milk
1 tbsp calvados (or another type of Brandy, or rhum)
4 baking apples (a mix of tart and sweet varieties)
10 g butter
Preheat your oven to 350F.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Form a well in the middle, and dump in the eggs. Start mixing, using a whisk, pouring in slowly the milk at the same time to thin down the batter. Pour in the calvados and mix until just incorporated. The batter should reach a thick liquidy consistency.
Peel and cut the apples (in 8) and toss them in the calvados. Let the apples macerate for 5-10 minutes.
Butter a 9 inch regular or square pan. Spread half of the apples slices at the bottom. Cover with the batter, and spread the rest of the apples on top (the apples will sink a bit).
Bake for 40 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden.
Served warm, or at room temperature.
It can be kept in the fridges (well wrapped) for up to 3 days.