It is officially Fall, although Southern California doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo (read: 100 degree heat). Either way, it is not stopping the festivities from beginning. Most stores are fully stocked with the best cinnamon scented products, different varieties of pumpkins fill up cardboard boxes, and there is now a full aisle of JUST Halloween candy in my local Vons. Around this time of season, most eyes are locked on the pumpkins; Pumpkin carving, pumpkin pie, pumpkin everything! I myself love a good home baked pumpkin pie, however I have a different kind of love affair when Fall comes around… Apples.
I love apples with almost everything! With a good Sausage Roast, or maybe Candied Apples with caramel and dark chocolate, but most of all, I love my dear apples soft, gooey, delicately paired with cinnamon, and topped with a good amount of crumble. This marriage, in my opinion, is best suited for the mornings with a good brewed cup of Joe. However, it is also really delightful in the evenings after a good light meal… maybe a la mode. Follow your heart.
To my delight, there was a perfect recipe just waiting for me in my favorite cookbook of all, A Kitchen in France. It was so perfect because I happened to have everything I needed right in my kitchen (a rarity for me). One of the main ingredients, aside from the apples, is Crème Fraiche. If some of you haven’t heard of it, it is a blend between sour crème and yogurt. It is perfectly smooth, and not too sour. You can’t find this in the everyday grocery store, unless you get lucky. It took me a half year of searching, and I happened to stumble across the ever elusive Crème fraiche by surprise. The secret beholder? Trader Joes. I swear that this company has it all… almost.
Continuing on, the recipe I went off of was the “Calvados and Crème Fraiche Apple Tart”. I changed a few things: One, I didn’t use Calvados (which is a type of brandy). Two, I excluded the tart dough and created a custard crumble instead. The finished product was more than perfect. It exceeded all expectations and will now be my go to breakfast whenever I crave it.
Crème Fraiche Apple Crumble
Again, I based this recipe off of Mimi Thorisson’s cookbook, A Kitchen in France. It is, in my opinion, the best cookbook I have come across. It is filled with beautiful writing, pictures and recipes. I suggest you buy it, especially if you have a love for all things French. This recipe can serve 2, but if you have an appetite then by all means have it for yourself.
1 8oz Ramekin
1 Gala Apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into small cubes
1/4 cup Crème Fraiche
1 Egg Yolk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tbsp Pure Maple Syrup, Grade A
1 tbsp Flour (I used whole wheat flour)
1 tbsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tbsp Ghee or Butter
Directions for the filling:
Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease the ramekin with butter or ghee.
In a small bowl, combine Crème Fraiche, egg yolk, Vanilla extract, Flour, and Maple syrup. Set aside.
Heat a skillet on medium heat with the 1 tbsp of ghee. Once heated, add in apples and cinnamon and cook until soft. Once soft, remove skillet from heat and carefully scoop apples into the ramekin, filling it 2/3 of the way. Next, pour in the crème fraiche mixture, making sure to fully cover the apples. Give the ramekin a little shake to ensure that the filling spreads evenly. (note: you may not use all of the filling or apples, that is ok. Just as long as the filling completely covers the apples. You can use the remaining apples as a topping for your favorite yogurt as a snack later on).
Sprinkle the crumble mixture to fully cover the top of the ramekin (recipe down below).
Place ramekin in the oven and bake for 15-17 minutes.
Let cool for 5 mins, then enjoy with a cup of coffee.
2 heaping tbsp flour (I used whole wheat)
1/4 cup finely chopped Hazelnuts
2 tsp ghee or butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl, making sure to mix thoroughly. The mixture should be crumbly. If it is not, and the mix is too dry, add in a little bit of maple syrup. If the mixture is too wet, sprinkle in a little extra flour. Sprinkle the crumble mixture to completely cover the top of the crème fraiche mixture in the ramekin.