Far Breton (the dessert in "A Menu From My Cancale Kitchen") is a custardy, clafoutis-like dessert from Brittany that’s easy and inexpensive to make, keeps for days, and can even be served for breakfast. Most people make it with rum-soaked prunes, but apples are also a popular version.

Back in the day when every Breton village had a communal bread oven, cooks would prepare their fars then take them to the bread oven to cook after the bread-baking was done. The gradually reducing heat of the oven would gently cook the desserts all the way through.

My neighbor Françoise –who makes the best far Breton around—was kind enough to share her recipe (something many Breton cooks wouldn’t do) with me, and I’ve adapted here. She starts her Far Breton in a hot oven, then lowers the temperature, a technique that mimics the heat of a cooling bread oven and cooks the dense batter all the way through.

For the creamiest results, use whole milk and absolutely don’t skip the batter’s resting time. This rest period lets the gluten “relax” (as they say in French) and gives the flour a chance to absorb the liquid.

Serves 8

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2/3 cup (3 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • inch of salt, optional
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large or 4 medium baking or firm apples (such as Granny Smith or Pink Lady), peeled and cut into ½-inch slices (yielding about one pound)
  • 1 teaspoon butter, for the baking dish


1. Measure the milk into a glass measure. Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and crack the eggs into it. Whisk the eggs into the flour mixture, adding a little milk until all the flour is incorporated. Gradually whisk in the remaining milk until you have a smooth batter. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.

2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and place an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Butter an 8 x 8-inch or 1-quart baking dish with the butter.

3. Whisk the vanilla into the batter, then add the sliced apples. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.

4. Bake the far at 425˚F for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350˚F, and bake 35 to 45 minutes more. The apple slices on top will turn a deep brown. This adds caramelized flavor but if you worry they will burn, cover the far with aluminum foil. Test doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center. There may still be some liquid on top of the far, but the toothpick should come out clean.

5. Turn off the oven, leave it cracked open, and allow the far to cool in the oven. (You can take it out to cool on the counter after an hour.) Let the far cool completely before cutting into slices and serving. Store leftovers in the fridge.