The other day, right after receiving a few more apples from my CSA, I saw a gorgeous apple pancake at Stacey Snacks. I used to make big pancakes like that somewhat frequently in the fall and winter, but it had been ages since I last made one. I checked my Word file of saved, keeper recipes, and there it was. Apparently, I added it to the file before I started noting where recipes originated. I now have no idea where I first found my version of the big apple pancake, but it was a little different than the version Stacey showed. I geeked out about finding the source and set about searching online to try and solve the mystery. There are Dutch babies and other big pancakes with and without apples. There are baked pancakes made in skillets and some in baking dishes. But, none of the recipes I found were the same as the one in my file. The closest version I found is David Eyre’s pancake in The Essential New York Times Cookbook. The ingredient quantities are similar, and that recipe and the one I saved are the only two I’ve seen that suggest serving them with lemon. So, I failed at finding the source of my recipe, but at least I got reacquainted with a great breakfast or brunch dish. Whichever recipe you prefer, you should try one of these pancakes. They’re easy to make, full of apples, and they puff up amazingly in the oven.
To make the pancake, you start by sauteing sliced apples in butter in an oven-proof skillet. When the apples are tender, add some brown sugar and stir to combine. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, milk, nutmeg, and flour. The batter is poured over the apples, the skillet is transferred to a hot oven, and it bakes for 10 minutes. At that point, you drop some cubes of butter on top of the pancake and sprinkle it with a mix of brown sugar and cinnamon. Then, it bakes for another 10 minutes and puffs gloriously. To serve, shake confectioner’s sugar on top, or squeeze some lemon over it if you’d like.
The look and the flavor of this pancake so completely outweigh the effort to make it, I could easily make one every weekend while apples are in season. And, I don’t see why apples need to have a lock on this concept. Next summer, I’ll be making these with peaches instead.
My Mystery Big Apple Pancake
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 large apples, cored and sliced in ¼-inch thick pieces
4 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ cup milk
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
½ cup flour
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
lemon wedge or confectioners’ sugar for serving
- preheat oven to 425 degrees F
- in a large, oven proof skillet, melt two tablespoons butter over medium heat; add apple slices and cook, stirring until tender, about 10 minutes; add two tablespoons of the brown sugar and stir to combine
- in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt, milk, nutmeg, and flour; pour this batter over the apples in the skillet; transfer to oven and bake until puffy, about 10 minutes
- in a small bowl, mix cinnamon and remaining two tablespoons brown sugar; cut remain tablespoon of butter into pieces; when pancake puffs, remove from oven, dot with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and return to oven to bake until browned, about 10 minutes more
- as the pancake comes out of the oven, squeeze lemon over the top or shake confectioners’ sugar over pancake