On Sundays, we like to have a more leisurely breakfast than during the work week, and this baked pancake is one of our favorites. In restaurants, this pancake is often called a Dutch Baby, and in several cookbooks it is called a German Pancake. The recipe that I use is for German Apple Pancake from The Vegetarian Epicure, by Anna Thomas. The proportions are easy to memorize, ¼ cup milk and flour per egg, so that you can scale it up or down, depending on how many people are joining you for breakfast. This pancake is nice for holidays; my mother and brothers also use this recipe for special occasion breakfasts.
Most of the time, we make a plain pancake (Ken calls it “oven pancake”), but it is especially good with sautéed apples, which is how the recipe in Vegetarian Epicure is presented. Because the pancake takes 25 minutes to bake, you can slice and sauté the apples while the pancake is cooking. If you would rather read the paper with a cup of tea or coffee while the pancake is baking, skip the apple filling, and serve the puffy pancake with melted butter, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
German Apple Pancake adapted from The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas
3 large eggs
¾ cup milk
¾ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ Tablespoons butter
1 pound tart apples (about 3 apples)
¼ cup melted butter
3-4 Tablespoons sugar, depending on the sweetness of the apples
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
freshly grated nutmeg
2 Tablespoons melted butter
lemon wedges for squeezing juice
To make the pancake:
Preheat the oven to 450°. Place oven rack in middle of oven, and remove any rack above it. (This pancake can rise quite high and you don’t want it to hit the rack above!) In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, flour and salt (but not the butter). I use a hand-held rotary beater for this. Melt the butter in a large, heavy, oven-proof skillet. When the butter is very hot, spread it across the pan and pour in the batter. Immediately put the pan in the hot oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 and continue baking for 5-10 minutes. The pancake will puff up and the edges will be brown and crisp.
To make the filling:
While the pancake is in the oven, peel the apples and slice them thinly. Sauté the apples in ¼ cup butter with 3-4 tablespoons of sugar and season to taste with cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook the apples over medium heat for about 8 minutes.
While the pancake is in the oven, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and put it in a small bowl with a spoon or small ladle. Put some powdered sugar in a bowl with a spoon, and put the lemon wedges on a small plate. When the pancake is done, cut it into wedges and put on plates, then spoon the sautéed apples over. Pass the melted butter, lemon wedges and powdered sugar for each person to “dress” the pancake as they like. Serves 3 to 4.