“German Apple Pancake,” “Apfel Pfannekuchen” or “Apple Dutch Baby”

Way back in 2009 when the CSA was just beginning, our apprentice, Cassie Tharinger, contributed this recipe to the newsletter. This is how she described it:

“Growing up my mom often made us something she called “Dutch Baby”—a fluffy-on-top custardy-on-the bottom eggy pancake baked in a cast iron skillet in the oven, which we split open and smeared w/ plenty of butter, jam, cinnamon-sugar, or maple syrup.  This summer a friend took me to his favorite childhood breakfast spot, a branch of Portland OR’s “The Original Pancake House” on Chicago’s South Side.  The Apple Pancake I had there was a revelation.  Similar to my childhood Dutch Baby, but with a sweet, sticky, cinnamon-y mass of caramelized apples baked into it—so delicious I burned my mouth repeatedly, unable to wait for it to cool after its date with the piping hot skillet.  Back home I experimented with and tweaked my mom’s Dutch Baby recipe until I came up with my own version of what the Germans call “Apfel Pfannekuchen.”  A tremendous way to start a weekend morning, this could easily be re-envisioned as a dessert—just think of it as a variation on Tarte Tatin or Apple Upside Down Cake!”

Ingredients:

  • 4 apples, cored and sliced

  • 1/2 - 2/3 cups sugar

  • 2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

  • 3 eggs, separated

  • 11/4 cup milk

  • 1 egg (not separated)

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1 tsp lemon zest (optional)

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 Tbs sugar

  • 1 cup flour

  • 5 Tbs butter, plus 2 Tbs for greasing the pan

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°

Mix together 1/2 – 2/3 cup of sugar with the cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.  Toss the apple slices in this mixture to coat.

Combine the yolks of the 3 separated eggs with the milk, 1 whole egg, vanilla, lemon zest (optional), salt, sugar and flour in a blender or bowl. Blend until smooth.

In a heavy, ovenproof skillet (cast iron if you have it) melt 5 Tbs of butter, and add the sugared apples.  They should cover the bottom of the skillet. Cook over medium heat until the apples are tender and caramelized and the sugar and butter form a sticky sauce.

While the apples are cooking, beat the remaining 3 egg whites until stiff, and fold into the milk/flour mixture.

Dot another tablespoon or two of butter into the skillet, and rub a bit of butter around the pan’s edges to help ensure that the pancake releases from the skillet. Then pour the batter over the apples. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and puffed up and a knife inserted comes out clean. Resist the temptation to open the door too early or the pancake will sink.

Slide a knife around the pan to loosen the edges of the pancake.  Invert a large plate or platter over the skillet, and flip the skillet upside down onto the plate.  Eat with any and all of your favorite breakfast toppings.