Known in Germany as Apfel Pfannekuchen, this wonderful country-style pancake features apples and spice and makes for a delightful breakfast treat. You can adjust the taste from tart to sweet depending on what apples you choose to bake with.
A 10-inch ovenproof skillet is necessary for this recipe; we highly recommend using a nonstick skillet for the sake of easy cleanup, but a regular skillet will work as well. You can also use a cast-iron pan; if you do, set the oven temperature to 425 degrees in step 1, and when cooking the apples in step 3, cook them only until just barely golden, about 6 minutes. Cast iron retains heat better than stainless steel, making the higher oven temperature unnecessary. If you prefer tart apples, use Granny Smiths; if you prefer sweet ones, use Braeburns. For serving, dust the apple pancake with confectioners’ sugar and pass warm maple syrup or caramel sauce (recipe follows) separately, if desired.
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 pounds Granny Smith or Braeburn apples (3 to 4 large apples), peeled, quartered, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position; heat oven to 500 degrees.
2. Whisk to combine flour, granulated sugar, and salt in medium bowl. In second medium bowl, whisk eggs, half-and-half, and vanilla until combined. Add liquid ingredients to dry and whisk until no lumps remain, about 20 seconds; set batter aside.
3. Heat butter in 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon; cook, stirring frequently with heatproof rubber spatula, until apples are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in lemon juice.
4. Working quickly, pour batter around and over apples. Place skillet in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees; bake until pancake edges are brown and puffy and have risen above edges of skillet, about 18 minutes.
5. Using oven mitts to protect hands, remove hot skillet from oven and loosen pancake edges with heatproof rubber spatula; invert pancake onto serving platter. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, cut into wedges, and serve.
Makes about 11/2 cups If you make the caramel sauce ahead, reheat it in the microwave or a small saucepan over low heat until warm and fluid. When the hot cream mixture is added in step 3, the hot sugar syrup will bubble vigorously (and dangerously), so don’t use a smaller saucepan.
1/2 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
1. Place water in heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan; pour sugar in center of pan, taking care not to let sugar crystals adhere to sides of pan. Cover and bring mixture to boil over high heat; once boiling, uncover and continue to boil until syrup is thick and straw-colored (syrup should register 300 degrees on candy thermometer), about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until syrup is deep amber (syrup should register 350 degrees on candy thermometer), about 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, bring cream and salt to simmer in small saucepan over high heat (if cream boils before sugar reaches deep amber color, remove cream from heat and cover to keep warm).
3. Remove sugar syrup from heat; very -carefully pour about one quarter of hot cream into it (mixture will bubble vigorously), and let bubbling subside. Add remaining cream, vanilla, and lemon juice; whisk until sauce is smooth. (Sauce can be cooled and refrigerated in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.)