Pommes au four

One of the delights of autumn is the baked apple — pomme au four in French. Served with cream or without, it’s a classic dessert that’s both healthy and easy to make. But is it so totally basic that it doesn’t belong on a French cooking blog? I thought it over, called a couple of friends and, with their hearty encouragement, decided to go for it. I’ve been wanting to add pommes au four to the desserts on this site for a very long time. Et voilà.

Pommes au four / Baked apples

The impulse behind this week’s recipe was a recent visit to my cottage in Burgundy, where apples are particularly abundant this year. They were falling off the trees, in many varieties. However, as the summer was very hot and very dry, they were smaller than usual. Although in the past I’ve tended to use large apples for this dessert, I decided to give it a try with the small ones, serving two or three per portion, as shown above and, with caramelized sauce but no cream, here.

There were a few big apples left on another tree, however, and I gave that a try also. The first one I baked exploded (i.e. its skin popped off) — see the recipe page for a photo. When I tried again, I took care to score the apple skin before baking, and it turned out perfectly, shown here with a dollop of crème fraîche.

The key to success with this recipe is of course the apples, which should be firm and slightly tart. Choose an heirloom variety if at all possible. As for the other ingredients, you’ll get best results if you use raw cane sugar (demerara or cassonnade), unsalted butter and the finest crème fraîche you can find. If crème fraîche is not available where you live, choose a high-quality heavy cream. And…

Happy cooking.

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5 Responses to Pommes au four

  1. simi says:

    isnt pommes au four a baked potato???

    • Meg says:

      Hi Simi. Good question! ‘Pommes’ are apples, ‘pommes de terre’ are potatoes. But ‘pommes de terre’ is frequently shortened to just ‘pommes’, as in ‘pommes frites’ (French fries). So in fact ‘pommes au four’, which means baked apples, could also be used for baked potatoes, but this is rare. The usual expression would be ‘pommes de terre au four’ to distinguish the potatoes from the dessert. If you google the images for ‘pommes au four’, you will see only apples. Meantime baked potatoes are also referred to in French ‘pommes en chemise’ or ‘pommes de terre en chemise’, which means potatoes ‘in a shirt’, i.e. baked in their skins. Hope this helps. Cheers, Meg

  2. Lacy says:

    I’m glad you included it! I sought out a blog like yours for exactly this sort of recipe. Thank you!

  3. JB says:

    Alternatively, stuff them with what the Québécois call “cassonnade” … maple sugar. Pink Lady apples are a very fine choice for baking as well.

    • Meg says:

      Thanks for the tip! And it’s very interesting that cassonnade has different meanings on both sides of the Atlantic. Over here, it’s raw sugar (but not maple sugar). Growing up in Wisconsin, I enjoyed baked apples with maple syrup as well. One of life’s simple delights…

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