I’m not sure why, but lately I’ve had a real thing for breakfast food. Almost everything on my “recipes to try” list, that I’ve actually been making anyway, has been breakfast related. And okay, it might not just be recently. I’ve been known to eat breakfast food for any meal of the day. What can I say? I just really like it. Seems like I’m passing this love on to my Peanut, as she has also requested “breakfast food” for lunch or supper on more than one or two occasions lately.
This German Apple Pancake is just one of those examples of breakfast foods I have made for dinner. But normally I make it for breakfast on a lazy weekend morning. It’s perfect for using up apples that are no longer “fit for the lunch bag”. You know the ones, wrinkled, perhaps slightly bruised. This is evidenced by the photos of the apples I actually used to make this. On the inside they were perfectly fine. The recipe also works with pears, which I discovered last fall when our pear tree exploded. Or you can use a mixture of apples and pears.
Making this pancake involves first slicing the apples, then cooking them in a skillet on the stovetop with brown sugar and cinnamon. While you’re waiting for them to cook, you can stir up the batter for the pancake. And preheat your oven – it needs to be nice and hot. The good news is that if you’re in a rush in the morning (or you or your family is Hangry) you can do both these steps ahead of time and keep the cooked apples and mixed batter in the fridge overnight. Just reheat the apples in the skillet in the morning and move on to the next step.
When the apples are nice and browned with a syrupy sauce, it’s time to pour the batter in. Pour around the edges of the skillet first then fill in the center. Then pop the whole skillet in the oven. The pancake part will rise – nice and high if you use all purpose flour but less so if you go for whole wheat. It will still be good though.
Loosen the pancake from the edges of the skillet and invert it onto a plate. If any apples remain stuck, just scrape them off and place them on the pancake. Sift some confectioner’s sugar over the top if you’d like, or serve with maple syrup. But actually, this pancake has enough flavor and sweetness from the apples (especially if you use a sweeter variety) that it doesn’t really need any extra sugar at all.
Cut into four pieces and serve. I have also successfully doubled this recipe using a larger (12″) skillet with good results.
- 1/2 cup all purpose or whole wheat flour see notes
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup half and half
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 3-4 large apples or pears or a mixture of the two, peeled, cored and sliced 1/2" thick, 1 1/4lbs
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Confectioner's sugar
Adjust oven rack to upper middle position. Heat oven to 500°F.
Whisk flour, sugar and salt together in large bowl. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk cream, eggs and vanilla together. Whisk cream mixture into flour mixture until smooth. Set aside.
Melt butter in a 10" ovenproof skillet (cast iron works well) over medium high heat. Add apples, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook, stirring often until apples are golden brown, 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
Working quickly, pour the batter around the edges of the skillet, then over the center of the apples. Place skillet in the oven and immediately reduce heat to 425°F. Bake until pancake is browned and puffy, 15-20 minutes.
Run a knife around the edge of the skillet to loosen the pancake, then place a large plate or platter over the skillet. Carefully invert the plate and skillet to remove the pancake. Top with a dusting of Confectioner's sugar, cut into four slices and serve.
* Recipe barely adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book