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1. Position oven rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a 9- or 10-inch cast iron or other oven-going skillet melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Add the 3/4 cup maple syrup; simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. If desired, stir in ginger. Arrange apple slices decoratively in the skillet, positioning slices as close together as possible without overcrowding.
2. In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl combine 1/2 cup of the maple sugar, the egg yolks, and the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until light and fluffy. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to beaten mixture, beating after each addition until combined.
3. Wash beaters thoroughly with hot, soapy water. In another medium bowl beat egg whites with electric mixer on medium to high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight); beat in the remaining 1/2 cup maple sugar. Stir about one-third of the egg white mixture into the batter. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the remaining egg white mixture just until mixed. Spread batter evenly over apples.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in skillet on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Lift off skillet. Serve warm with Maple Whipped Cream or creme fraiche. If desired, drizzle with additional maple syrup.
1. In a chilled medium bowl combine whipping cream and maple syrup. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until soft peaks form (tips curl).