Order our cookbook today

3d Cookbook

and save 40% off the cover price!

For a more casual apple pie, lose the crust
Milk Street Bowtie French Apple Cake

French Apple Cake

1 hour 25 minutes active, plus cooling

Free

This simple dessert is less cake than sautéed apples set in a thick, buttery custard encased in a golden crust. We liked using two varieties of apples here, one tart and one sweet—the variation in the apples’ sweetness gave the cake a full, complex flavor. The cake is delicious served unadorned, but it’s equally wonderful accompanied with crème fraîche or ice cream.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, plus more for pan
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices
1 pound Braeburn or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices
149 grams (12 tablespoons) white sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons brandy or Calvados
95 grams (⅔ cup) all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Ingredients
  • 8

    tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, plus more for pan

  • ¼

    teaspoon ground allspice

  • pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices

  • 1

    pound Braeburn or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices

  • 149

    grams (12 tablespoons) white sugar, divided

  • ½

    teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2

    tablespoons brandy or Calvados

  • 95

    grams (⅔ cup) all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

  • 1

    teaspoon baking powder

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 2

    teaspoons vanilla extract

The French Take on Apple Pie

Milk Street Recipes

The French Take on Apple Pie

Directions
  1. 01
    Heat the oven to 375ºF with a rack in the middle position. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with butter, dust evenly with flour, then tap out the excess. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, melt the butter. Cook, swirling the pan frequently, until the milk solids at the bottom are golden brown and the butter has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Pour into a small heatproof bowl without scraping out the skillet. Stir the allspice into the butter and set aside.
    See Demo
  2. 02
    Add all of the apples, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the salt to the still-hot skillet and set over medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all moisture released by the apples has evaporated and the slices are beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the brandy and cook until evaporated, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer to a large plate, spread in an even layer and refrigerate uncovered until cool to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes.
    See Demo
  3. 03
    In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and 9 tablespoons of the remaining sugar. Gradually whisk in the browned butter. Add the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until smooth; the batter will be very thick. Add the cooled apples and fold until evenly coated with batter. Transfer to the prepared pan, spread in an even layer and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
    See Demo
  4. 04
    Bake until deeply browned, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Run a knife around the inside of the pan and remove the sides before slicing.
    See Demo
    French Apple Cake Step 4
Tip: Don’t use a spatula to scrape the browned butter out of the skillet—simply pour it into the bowl. A skim coat of butter in the pan is needed for cooking the apples. And don’t slice the cake until it has fully cooled; if it is at all warm, the texture at the center will be too soft.
Down arrow

French Apple Cake

Get Ready to Cook

8

Servings

1 hour

25 minutes active, plus cooling

Tip

Don’t use a spatula to scrape the browned butter out of the skillet—simply pour it into the bowl. A skim coat of butter in the pan is needed for cooking the apples. And don’t slice the cake until it has fully cooled; if it is at all warm, the texture at the center will be too soft.

Ingredients
  • 8

    tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, plus more for pan

  • ¼

    teaspoon ground allspice

  • pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices

  • 1

    pound Braeburn or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices

  • 149

    grams (12 tablespoons) white sugar, divided

  • ½

    teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2

    tablespoons brandy or Calvados

  • 95

    grams (⅔ cup) all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

  • 1

    teaspoon baking powder

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 2

    teaspoons vanilla extract

The French Take on Apple Pie

Milk Street Recipes

The French Take on Apple Pie

Step 1 of 4

Coat the pan and melt the butter

8
tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter
¼
teaspoon ground allspice

Heat the oven to 375ºF with a rack in the middle position. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with butter, dust evenly with flour, then tap out the excess.


In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, melt the butter. Cook, swirling the pan frequently, until the milk solids at the bottom are golden brown and the butter has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes.


Pour into a small heatproof bowl without scraping out the skillet. Stir the allspice into the butter and set aside.

Step 2 of 4

Add the apples

pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices
2
tablespoons white sugar
½
teaspoon kosher salt
2
tablespoons brandy or Calvados

Add all of the apples, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the salt to the still-hot skillet and set over medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all moisture released by the apples has evaporated and the slices are beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.


Add the brandy and cook until evaporated, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer to a large plate, spread in an even layer and refrigerate uncovered until cool to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 3 of 4

Combine the apples and batter

95
grams (⅔ cup) all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1
teaspoon baking powder
2
large eggs
2
teaspoons vanilla extract
10
tablespoons white sugar

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and 9 tablespoons of the remaining sugar. Gradually whisk in the browned butter.


Add the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until smooth; the batter will be very thick. Add the cooled apples and fold until evenly coated with batter. Transfer to the prepared pan, spread in an even layer and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

Step 4 of 4

Bake and cool

Bake until deeply browned, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Run a knife around the inside of the pan and remove the sides before slicing.

Milk Street Bowtie Logo

Done!

Did you enjoy this recipe?

Want more?

See More Recipes