I know that everyone says “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” And some people write entire books and blogs, just about breakfast. But I must confess: I’m not a regular breakfast eater. I have nothing against the meal mind you. It’s just that I’m really not that hungry until a few hours after I wake up, and by that time, I’m at work and it’s easier to wait for lunch time to roll around. Someone once suggested that I just wake up earlier. That suggestion was a non-starter; as much as I love food, I love sleeping more.
In stark contrast to myself, Tania is a breakfast lover. She eats breakfast pretty much every day, and it’s usually the same thing: oatmeal with bananas, cinnamon, Splenda, and vanilla. Woe is it to the one who gets between her and her oatmeal; there are very few things that could tear her away from a bowl of hot oats. If there is one thing that could do it however, it’s a dish that she calls “apple pancake.”
I’ve written at length about my own family food traditions. Apple pancake is one of Tania’s. Most commonly referred to as a Dutch Baby, sometimes as a puff pancake, and occasionally as an oven pancake, the apple pancake is akin to a large popover. If done properly, it will tower above the pan in which it is cooked.
The difference between my relationship to my family food traditions and Tania’s relationship to hers is simple: I have recipes. (And recipes and recipes.) So when we decided to make the apple pancake ourselves, we were left to scour the internet. None of the recipes we encountered however seemed to fit just right. And so, we cobbled a recipe together on our own, taking bits and pieces from here and there. A Frankenrecipe if you will.
Apple Pancake, or Dutch Baby, or Puff Pancake
6 eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1. Place a 9-inch cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Beat the eggs until frothy. Add the milk, flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, salt and cinnamon.
3. Place enough butter in the hot cast-iron skillet to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. (Probably around 2ish tablespoons). Briefly return the skillet to the oven.
4. Open the oven and quickly pour the batter into the pan all at once.
5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
The foregoing recipe will get you the pancake part. But, as you’ll see, there are no apples called for. That’s because they go on top. So while the pancake is baking, slice up a bunch of apples and sauté them in a pan with lots of (brown) sugar and cinnamon.
When the pancake is done, remove it from the oven. If everything went according to plan, it should have expanded well beyond the confines of the skillet in which it was baked. It’s going to deflate rather rapidly, starting when you remove it from the hot oven.
At this point, what you do with the pancake is really up to you. Tania said they traditionally spread red raspberry jelly on it and cover it with sautéed apples. That happens to be my favorite way to eat. Tania is less tied to traditions however (even her own). She’s been known to put things like syrup on it, or any other type of topping that might be on hand; it’s possible that she may have attended Crazy Go Nuts University, I’m not sure.
Anyway, so there you have it: a breakfast that is better than oatmeal.