Sunday, May 9, 2010

Baked Apple Pancake

Ah, yes, Mother's Day. My mom reads this blog, so I can't say anything too embarrassing about her. I will, however, share some fun facts that make her uniquely...her.

My mom is the queen of piles. When I'm in the middle of cooking, my process photos aren't the most artistic or well thought out (my family doesn't like overcooked or burnt food, and they hate waiting), so you'll usually see glimpses of my kitchen. Often, there will be piles in the background on the counter. Those piles? My mom's. Her papers, to-do and shopping lists, coupons, and mail remain in two distinct piles. She also has piles on the dining room table (we eat in the kitchen) that represent whatever items she needs to file or is currently dealing with. You mess with a pile, you die. You create your own pile to rival her own, you die even more. Piles must not be touched without permission or covertly started. 

My mom and I also fight over the Los Angeles Times Sunday crossword puzzle all week long. She always removes it from the newspaper and refuses to hand it over until she's had a look or gets sick of my whining. We trade it back and forth all week and sometimes we sit down and work on it together. That, too, usually results in fights over who can't see. I refuse to give into her pouting.

While I make fun of my mom for her uh, idiosyncrasies, she's quite indulgent of my cooking and kitchen tool habits. Whenever we go in a store with kitchen items, we have to look down those aisles.   A square springform cake pan? Odd-sized measuring cups and spoons? A cookie press, too? Yes, please! We have also recently gone on field trips to different grocery stores in search of special flours, nut/seed meals, powdered buttermilk, almond paste and bulk grains. And when she isn't playing Scramble on Facebook like the addict she is, she scours the web for yummy sounding recipes for us to try. I've had to limit our baking time to once every two weeks or else I'll never stick to this healthy eating thing. But damn, she finds the good stuff!

So, for Mother's Day breakfast, we indulged in some of that good stuff. We have a local restaurant, Dinah's, that has a delicious apple pancake she would always get when I was little. She then graduated to the apple pancake at the Original Pancake House, which is even better. Apples cooked in butter, sugar and cinnamon and then baked into a fluffy batter. Caramelized bits of sugar and apple with crispy pancake edges. Licking the spatula to make sure the apples are perfectly sweet and cinnamo....wait. No. I don't lick the spatula when I'm cooking. Of course not. That would be unsanitary. 

My mom seriously bought a cast iron pan for the primary purpose of trying to make an apple pancake at home. We've gone through a few recipes, and this one comes the closest. It was printed out from a website somewhere along the line, and then adapted by us in the hopes of achieving restaurant-quality taste and texture. I will forewarn you, though. If your cast iron skillet is not well seasoned and oiled, it will stick when you flip it over. It will still taste delicious, but it won't be as pretty. My mom should know--hers  has never come out as pretty as this one. So if you're unsure, use a highly greased glass Pyrex pie dish, or perhaps a 10" nonstick ovenproof skillet.

Someone that goes by Mom didn't want to share at first.

1/2 stick butter
1 1/4 pounds green apples, peeled, cored, and cut into slices approximately 1/8 inch thick.
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 large eggs

1/2 cup milk (of any fat variety)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Prep your apples. If you have a mandolin, I am jealous. Otherwise, try not to cut your fingers off. Also, you could do this the night before and cover the slices in the fridge. They may brown, but remember: you're dousing them in cinnamon and baking them, so they'll turn brown anyway.

Naked apples. Not Pictured: sliced apples (they were a little bit more modest).

2. Melt butter on medium heat in your cast iron or ovenproof skillet, or if using a glass dish, any skillet at all. Add in brown sugar so it is coated in the butter. Then add in apples, granulated sugar and cinnamon.

 Mmmm sugar + cinnamon + apples.

3. Cook apples until they begin to brown and most of the liquid has evaporated. I use the word "most" because retaining some of that liquid will help with caramelization and sticking.

 See that liquid? That's a little much. See that blur? That's steam on my lens.

4. Remove from heat. If you need to, transfer to a glass dish by pouring off liquid into the bottom of the dish, and then adding the apples on top of it. Remember: well-greased, and liquid helps prevent sticking.

Better. The liquid isn't visible when you pat down and spread out the apples, but you know there is some underneath.

5. In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, flour and salt and beat until smooth. Pre-whisk your eggs, it will make this easier.

6. Make sure your apples are spread evenly across your pan. Pour the batter over the apples and place in oven for 18-20 minutes.


 7. When pancake is golden and puffy, remove and let rest for 5 minutes.

Done. The color isn't quite as red, but it is this yellow.

8. This is your choice. You can run a knife around the edge and carefully flip it, or you could cut slices and flip each slice over as you place it on a plate. Or you could not flip it, and sprinkle it with powdered sugar to make it look nicer. If you are really awesome, you could scoop pieces into bowls, and top off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I've never tried this last one, as I have only had it for breakfast, but I suspect it would be divine.


The Cilantropist said...

This is such a cute post, all moms have little quirks that make them more lovable. :) And I really laughed out loud when I you talked about her piles... I must admit, I have a bad habit of that myself that I am currently trying to break! Pancakes look so sweet!

TasteHongKong said...

Hi, if you don't lick the spatula, I would very much love to grab a slice.
Hi Auntie, great to know you. I presume that you must as cheerful as I am while reading your daughter's post : ).

Anna said...

I absolutely love this kind of pancakes, so much easier to make. And taste delicious. Yours looks fantastic.

islandeat said...

Hi, BB. This looks tantalizing, much like the German apple pancakes at Walker Bros. (in the n. suburbs of Chicago, where we liked to go as an adventure from that university down in Hyde Park...). I've been meaning to make one of these, so thanks for the recipe.


The Gourmand & the Peasant said...

I came across your blog from my friend Ginny's blog (Food-G) and am so happy that I did! My mom has piles too, makes lists of the lists she needs to make and also infused me for a love of all things food.

As for your pancake recipe, I got a bunch of orphaned seconds from an apple farmer friend at the farmer's market and have found just what I shall do with them. Keep up the great writing!


S. said...

@Cilantropist & Gourmand: I will be sure to let my mom know she isn't the only crazy one out there. I bet you picked up the habit, too? I kind of like my lists and piles, too.

@TasteHongKong: what good is baking if you don't get to lick the spatula?

@Everyone: thanks! they are in the vein of German apple pancakes from what I understand. They're way easy and delicious, plus they definitely use up some of your dying apples.

Rick said...

I could go for that right now. Instead of Dunkin Donuts :(

S. said...

@Rick - seriously much better than DD. quicker option? microwave apple slices with cinnamon & sugar, pour into some pancake batter (i use the Krusteaz Mix. haha) and cook like a pancake. QUICK!

Crystal said...

Wow, this looks so good I can't wait to give it a try.

Baking Barrister said...


Culinarication said...

I LOVE the Pancake House's Apple pancake; I get it almost every time I go there. The recipes I've tried haven't come close, I'll have to give this a shot one day!

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