Monday, September 19, 2011
German Apple Pancake
1. Dice the apples and perhaps sautée the pieces for only 4-5 min so they don't turn mushy.
2. The original recipe called for 3-4 Granny Smith or Braeburn apples. We thought there were too many apples and not enough pancake, so we reduced the apples to 2 and only use Granny Smith. Braeburns are too sweet.
3. It is important that the oven be completely preheated to 500 degrees before putting the dish into the oven to bake.
4. Jeanne doesn't care for this for breakfast, but it could be a dessert, topped with whipped cream or ice cream.
5. For a more savory dish, see about (i) removing sugar from dry ingredients; (ii) cutting back on brown sugar; and (iii) adding a touch of rosemary and thyme--something that was in an open-faced apple tartlet at St. Paul's Strip Club.
6. If using a cast iron skillet (see other notes, above), the "pancake" part may not be as puffy and cohesive as when using a non-stick skillet. Be sure to read other notes related to using cast iron.
7. Recipe calls for a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, preferably nonstick. Swiss Diamond brand is oven-safe, up to 500 degrees.
8. Cook's says this about using cast iron: "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."
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (2-1/2 ounces)
1 Tbl granulated sugar
1/2 tsp table salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup half-and-half
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbl unsalted butter
2 small Granny Smith apples or similar non-sweet apple
1/4 cup light brown sugar or dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp lemon juice, plus extra for apples
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Maple syrup, whipped cream, ice cream are optional
Heat-proof rubber spatula (see Preparation below)
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position; heat oven to 500 degrees (or 425 if using a cast iron skillet).
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Set aside.
3. In second medium-small bowl, whisk eggs, half-and-half, and vanilla until combined.
4. Peel, quarter, de-core, and dice apples. Toss with lemon juice to prevent from turning brown. Set aside.
5. Pour liquid ingredients into dry and whisk until no lumps remain, about 20 seconds; set batter aside.
6. Over medium-high heat, melt butter in 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet until sizzling.
7. Add apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon; cook, stirring frequently with heatproof rubber spatula, until apples pieces are heated through, about 4-5 minutes. (NOTE: The original recipe uses larger apple slices and heats them for about 10 min. But the smaller pieces may become soggy if sauteed for that long.)
8. Off heat, stir in lemon juice.
9. Working quickly, pour batter around and over apples (see illustration 1 from "Step by Step: Preparing the Pancake).
10. 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. (NOTE: With a cast iron skillet, the pancake may not puff up.)
11. Using oven mitts to protect hands, remove hot skillet from oven and loosen pancake edges with heatproof rubber spatula (Step 2 below). **Invert pancake onto serving platter if possible and then serve.**
12. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, cut into wedges, and serve with whipped cream, syrup, or ice cream.