Marc Meneau’s Apple Gâteau
Makes: Serves 6 to 8
Salted Butter Caramel Sauce:
  • 1 cup/200 g sugar
  • ½ cup/125 ml water
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • ½ cup/125 g salted butter
  • ¾ cup/175 ml heavy cream
  • 4 lb/1.8 tart apples
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter, for the mold
  • 5-6 large lumps of sugar
  • 2 oranges, for zest
  • 1½-quart/1.5-liter tall soufflé dish
  1. For the Caramel: Heat the sugar, water and lemon juice in a heavy pan over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and boil the syrup rapidly without stirring until it starts to turn golden around the edges. If you stir, the syrup may crystallize. Meanwhile melt the butter with the cream and prepare a large bowl of cold water.
  2. When the syrup begins to color, lower the heat and continue boiling a few seconds to a deep golden color -- it will darken rapidly. Take the pan from the heat and dip the base in the cold water to stop the cooking. Add the butter and cream, standing back as the sauce may sputter and bubble up in the pan.
  3. Put the pan back over the heat, stirring until the caramel is completely dissolved. Let the sauce cool, then taste it and add a pinch of salt if needed to sharpen the flavor. Serve hot or chilled.
  4. For the Gateau: To prepare the soufflé dish, generously butter it. Butter a wide double strip of foil to form a collar extending at least 3 inches/7.5 cm above the rim of the dish. Press the collar, buttered side inward, against the inside of the dish. Butter the inner side of the foil and chill until the butter is set and the foil sticks to the dish.
  5. To extract the zest from the skins of the oranges, rub them with the sugar cubes so the cubes soften and turn bright orange. Wrap the orange-flavored cubes in plastic wrap and crush them with a rolling pin.
  6. Peel the apples and scoop out the stem and flower ends. Halve them and scoop out the core with a melon baller or the point of a knife. Set a half, cut-side down on a board and cut it crosswise into the thinnest possible slices. Alternatively, slice the apple halves on a mandoline.
  7. To assemble the Gâteau: Arrange a layer of apple slices in a flower pattern in the bottom of the mold. Top this first layer of apple with more slices arranged across the others life the ripples in a pond. (This crossed pattern of slices ensures that the cake holds together when unmolded.) Sprinkle the second layer with some of the crushed orange sugar. Continue filling the mold until the apples, held in place by the paper collar, extend at least 2 inches/5 cm above the rim. (They will shrink down into the mold during cooking.) Cover them with a round of buttered foil.
  8. Heat the oven to 150◦F/66◦C and set a shelf low down. Set the mold on a baking sheet. Bake the gâteau in the warm oven until the apples are much reduced and meltingly soft when pierced with a skewer, 10-12 hours. Tear off the top of the foil collar and let the cake cool to tepid. Unmold it onto a warm platter -- the top should be lightly caramelized with a little syrupy juice running down the sides. Serve it warm, with Salt Butter Caramel Sauce on the side.
Recipe by Bakepedia at