I have fond, though foggy, memories of my mom making a German pancake, or Pfannkuchen, out of The Joy of Cooking, when I was a little girl. Because it used soufflé techniques (separating the eggs and beating the whites) she didn’t make it very often. When she did make it, I think we actually had it as breakfast for dinner.
Yet, as much as I liked it, the German pancake wasn’t part of our family’s cooking rotation for a long time. A souffle was a souffle, and pancakes were pancakes. Then, while living in California, I picked up a cookbook, Trader Joe’s Favorite Sunset Recipes, with a page devoted to Dutch baby pancakes. They used a blender instead of fussing with the eggs, and we were off to the races. About ten years ago, Gourmet came out with a cookbook that has a puffed apple pancake, and that recipe became one of Sam’s favorites.
Being a fan of whole grain cooking and baking, I held out hope when Eating Well finally tried to adapt it. I knew that would be tricky — getting a soufflé-like lift with heavy whole grains. Their adaptation was ok. But it’s a Sunday breakfast, so I usually stick to the white flour recipes, and cut down on the sugar. We made it again this weekend, although, like when I was a girl, it was breakfast for dinner
Apple Dutch Baby
2 apples, cored, peeled, and sliced
1 T. lemon juice
2 T. brown sugar (3 T. if using tart apples)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 T. butter, divided in half
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 425 F. Put a 9-inch cast iron skillet in oven to preheat with 1 T. of the butter. Toss the apple slices with lemon juice, sugar and spices. Meanwhile, in another skillet melt the remaining butter and saute the apples for 3-4 minutes, until they begin to soften. Put the eggs in the blender and whirl at high speed for 1 minute. Drizzle in the milk with the motor running, then the flour. Remove the skillet from the over, pour in the batter, ladle the apples and their juices over the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes. It will rise beautifully and become golden brown. Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkle of powdered sugar (my preference) or with maple syrup (Sam’s).