Monday, July 13, 2009

German Apple Pancake

This is the time of year that I try to convince myself that winter is only a stones throw away. People, it's HOT out here! Today, in the shade, it was 115 F. Just a tad warm, wouldn't ya say..? When I first moved here 32 years ago, I remember stepping off the plane and having the heat hit me like an oven door dropping open. Back then it truly was a "dry heat". Over time though, it seems like more and more humidity has crept in, and it's not as dry as it used to be.

This weekend, I was trying to think of something for breakfast that would make me feel like Fall was here. How can you think of Fall and not have crisp apples come to mind..?

My favorite variety are Gala apples. They have the perfect amount of sweetness, are nice and crisp, and hold up perfectly when baked, especially in a baked German apple pancake. Now I know many of you might think that turning on the oven here in the summertime is crazy. But my choice was to set my thermostat at 78 F and bake breakfast, or to stand in 115 F and grill it... not a difficult decision. With the addition of fresh grated nutmeg, and a bit of cinnamon to my apples, my delusion that Fall had arrived was complete.

Actually, I have been thinking about an apple pancake ever since we were on vacation in San Diego a few weeks ago, and had dined at Richard Walkers Pancake House. I had seen a waiter walking by with one ordered by another guest, and wished I had ordered it myself. I wasn't able to find their recipe, but remembered I had seen this recipe prepared by Emeril Lagasse on Good Morning America, so I gave it a try. I always love an excuse to use my cast iron pans.

What I really liked about it was that it had just the right amount of sweetness. Just a bit of brown sugar to carmelize and compliment the apples, and enough eggs to give a nice, custard- like texture. I liked it best dusted with a teeny bit of confectioners sugar.

Brrrrrrrrr baby, I'm feelin' a chill coming on....

Emeril's German Apple Pancake

4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whole milk
1 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 apples (large), peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
pinch salt
powdered sugar, for serving
maple syrup, for serving

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, flour, and vanilla extract and whisk until just blended, being careful to not overmix. Set the batter aside to rest while you prepare the apples, at least 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

In a heavy, ovenproof (preferably nonstick)12-inch skillet (I used a cast iron pan), melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat. Add the apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the apples are soft and lightly golden around the edges, about 6 minutes. Add the sugar and cook, stirring, until the apples are caramelized and very soft, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and stir to melt.

Working very quickly, pour the batter evenly over the top of the apples. Using oven mitts or potholders, transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the pancake is golden brown and puffed, about 15 minutes. Don't be alarmed when you see the edges of the pancake puff up and extend above the top of the inner edge of the pan – this is supposed to happen!

Using oven mitts or potholders, remove the skillet from the oven and serve the pancake, sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled with maple syrup, if desired.

Yield: One super-large pancake.

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Stacey Snacks said...

I give you credit turning your oven up to 450 when it's 115 outside!
Thank God for air conditioning!
The pancake looks SO GOOD!

♥peachkins♥ said...

wow! that pancake is calling me for breakfast!

Patsyk said...

I'm not quite ready for winter yet, but I don't blame you a bit for wishing for it! That pancake looks like a wonderful treat to start the day!

The Food Hunter said...

looks great...what time is breakfast?

Peter M said...

Janet, fling a slab of the pancake over with some of that heat...summer is so-so here.

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

That's an interesting strategy. Reminds me of people in Japan who go out and get a hot bowl of ramen in the middle of summer to "cool down" I think the theory is that the hot soup makes you even hotter so when you're done it doesn't feel so hot anymore... Strange I know...

That pancake does look delicious though and definitely warrants the oven being turned on in 115 degree weather.

Chef Chuck said...

This looks delish! I would like to try the gala apple, they sound sweet!!