Though peppered with homey classics like cornmeal pound cake and apple galettes, by and large Gabrielle Hamilton's desserts in her new cookbook, Prune, are unusual, sometimes puzzling (like a ball of homemade fondant served in a glass of ice water). This doesn't mean they are all complicated; take her butter and sugar sandwich, which is just as it sounds, with a ramekin of heavy cream alongside for dunking. Simple and strange, at least to our American palettes, is the Calvados Omelette—sweet, enriched egg flambeed with apple brandy. We are not used to having our eggs for dessert, at least not served to us so unabashedly, instead of under the guise of custard or crepe or soufflé. And though the eggs here are mixed with a substantial amount of cream and a bit of flour, the end result is in fact just a plateful of sweet (buttery, boozy) eggs. But it comes off as elegant, urbane, and perfectly delicious.
Notes: The smallest non-stick pan I own is 8 inches, not 6, as Hamilton specifies. The omelette was therefore thinner and more fragile, making flipping it more difficult, but in the end, it was fine (if slightly mangled). If the idea of tipping the pan to ignite the alcohol intimidates you, use a long-necked lighter instead. (And just a small heads-up: When she instructs to, "Combine the ingredients for the batter...," note that the 4 teaspoons of butter included in that ingredient list are for the pan, not for the batter itself.)
- For the batter:
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 cup cream
- 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (use Madagascar or Tahitian, not the Mexican)
- pinch salt
- 4 teaspoons unsalted butter
- For finishing:
- 4 Tablespoons Calvados
- 4 teaspoons butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons sugar
Combine the ingredients for the batter in a stainless bowl and whisk until thoroughly blended.
Heat 1 teaspoon of butter in a nonstick 6" pan. When foaming, add 2 1/2 ounces batter and let set briefly. With a rubber heatproof spatula, pull omelette into the center from noon, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock and then do that again, from 1, 4, 7, and 11 o’clock until all the loose batter has run into the empty spaces and the omelette is set.
Lift up an edge of the omelette to see the color and when it is golden brown, flip the omelette.
Pour in a generous Tablespoon of Calvados and tip the pan to ignite the alcohol. Be sure that the Calvados you are using is at room temperature and not been refrigerated.
Remove the pan from the stove and let the flames burn out, then quickly slide onto a plate.
While warm, spread a teaspoon of softened butter over the surface of the omelette and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to finish.