Sunday, October 30, 2011

THE apple pancake

This weekend's breakfast recipe was another winner. A big winner. And I'm glad I didn't thoroughly read the ingredient list before I started making it or else I never would have even printed it out (discovered it on Let's just say there's a bit more butter and sugar involved than I'm usually comfortable handling.

A giant caramelized apple dutch baby is what's on the menu. I kind of have a dutch baby obsession - they're just fun to make (and eat). Kind of like popovers. I've also been told the pancake needs to make an appearance while we're entertaining family in the next few months. So watch out.

With all the caramelizing going on in the bottom of the cast iron skillet, I was certain the only outcome would be disaster, but I guess tons of butter wins out in the end. Cleaning my cast iron was a breeze and I'll no longer fear cooking in it.

The Apple Pancake

(adapted from The Kitchn)

2 large or 3 medium apples, preferably tart ones like Granny Smith
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup unsalted butter (I might try it with 1/4 cup next time)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar (unpacked)
3/4 cup flour (optional: whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
5 eggs
Powdered or cinnamon sugar, to serve (optional)

  • Heat the oven to 400°F. Peel, core, and quarter the apples, then cut them into medium slices (1/4-inch thick or less). A apple peeler/corer/slicer do-hicky works perfect. You should have about 3 cups of chopped apples.

  • In a small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of sugar with the cinnamon and ginger and set aside.

  • Cut the butter into chunks and place them in a deep cast iron skillet or 8x8-inch baking dish. Put the skillet or baking dish in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the butter is melted. Take the pan out of the oven and sprinkle the 1/3 cup brown sugar over the melted butter. Carefully spread the apples on top of the brown sugar and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the apples. Put the pan back in the oven to caramelize the apples and sugar.

  • Whisk the flour with the remaining tablespoon of sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly with a large wire whisk to beat out any lumps. When the flour is smoothly incorporated into the milk, beat in the vanilla and the eggs one by one. Beat by hand for 2 minutes, or until foamy. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes. By now the sugar should be bubbling around the apples, about 7-8 minutes.

  • Take the pan out of the oven and pour the batter over the apples. Bake for about 20 more minutes or until center is set and sides are lightly browned. The pancake will puff up dramatically but fall after a few minutes after you take it out of the oven.

  • If you want, serve with powdered sugar or more cinnamon sugar but it really doesn't need any extra sweetness.

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