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Must-Try: The Black Hoof’s apple skillet cake has a surprisingly salty topper

Must-Try: The Black Hoof’s apple skillet cake has a surprisingly salty topper
(Image: Renée Suen)

The Black Hoof, the Dundas West bistro from restaurateur Jen Agg, is famous for amping familiar dishes with unusual, offal-centric additions, like calf brains stuffed inside ravioli or hunks of foie gras served over banana bread. Chef Jesse Grasso, who took over the Hoof kitchen last year, continues to deal in offbeat culinary creations. His apple skillet cake starts conventionally enough: sweet Royal Galas and tart Granny Smiths are caramelized in a cast-iron pan, baked into a fluffy pancake with crunchy, burnt-sugar edges, and sprinkled with buttery, homespun peanut streusel. The curveball comes, appropriately, in spherical form: a scoop of cheddar cheese ice cream that’s as savoury as it should be sweet. Rich, creamy and startlingly salty, it lends a cool punch of umami to the cozy dessert.

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