Thanks to my foodie friend Jeremy, I’m on a cast iron kick. I had picked up a cast iron pan at a garage sale a couple of years ago for $2. I had no idea what to do with it, but $2 was too good a deal to pass up. The pan sat in my cupboard until my friend Jeremy started raving about how fantastic cast iron is. Turns out, I was doing everything you are NOT supposed to do with cast iron – washing it with soap, scrubbing off all the “grime,” and letting water sit in it until it rusted. Jeremy explained seasoning to me and told me all the things that cook wonderfully in a cast iron pan. He even came to my house and made me the best fried chicken I have ever eaten – in a cast iron pan. I was hooked. I immediately pulled my pan back out, bought two more, and convinced my mom that cast iron is the way to go. Now I want to cook everything I can in cast iron, which is how this German apple pancake recipe ended up in our regular breakfast routine.
The idea of German apple pancakes is incredibly simple: cook some apples in a skillet, pour batter over them, and put the whole thing in a preheated oven. Remove, flip the pancake onto a plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar and voila! Breakfast is served. I thought this recipe was a little sweet, so I’d cut back on the sugar next time. Brant has a sweet tooth and told me to leave it like it is. I suppose you can’t please everyone.
german apple pancake
from Cook’s Illustrated
A note from Cook’s Illustrated: 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.
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup half-and-half
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/4 pounds Granny Smith or Braeburn apples (approx 3-4 large apples), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp lemon juice
powdered sugar for dusting
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position; heat oven to 500 degrees.
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.
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.
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.
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.