Hubby Allen never cared much for pancakes. He always preferred lighter fare such as crepes, but that meant spending lots of time standing at the stove, making one crepe after another. Sometimes, I just didn’t want to do that. So, this yummy oven pancake became a great compromise.
Unlike American pancakes, this Apple Puff Pancake does not sit heavy in your stomach. It is very satisfying and filling without making you feel like you overdid your morning meal.
Allen was always immensely proud of his German heritage, and this type of pancake is often referred to as a German pancake or Dutch baby. The dish is said to have originated in Germany, not the Netherlands, though. The term Dutch baby was used in America, but is considered to have been a corruption of the word “Deutsch”(German).
An oven pancake is actually like a large Yorkshire Pudding in that it puffs up in the oven and falls when it cools. German pancakes are started on the stove top and continue to bake in the oven in that same metal or cast-iron pan. It is usually larger and much thinner than traditional American pancakes. Traditional pancakes use baking powder and/or baking soda for leavening, whereas oven pancakes puff up due to the eggs and steam created from whisking the ingredients together. Whole eggs are necessary—egg substitutes or egg whites alone just won’t work.
Make the batter first so it can rest while prepping the apples. Resting the batter allows gluten and protein from the flour to develop and “stretch” to better hold air that helps it rise. I like to do this by hand, using a whisk, although some recipes suggest using a blender or food processor.
Forgive my soapbox, but I don’t see the need to dirty electric equipment that is bulkier and harder to clean than a bowl when this is so easy to make. A handheld whisk incorporates enough air and is much simpler. But do remember to give the batter a final quick whisk to aerate before pouring it over the apples and popping it into the oven.
Sauté the apples in the melted butter in an ovenproof skillet until softened, then stir in brown sugar and cinnamon for the luscious caramelization that creates syrupy silkiness for the pancake. Then quickly whisk the batter a final time and pour it over top and let it cook an additional minute.
After about 12-15 minutes in the oven, the pancake will puff up and turn nice and golden. Remove it from the oven and slide it directly–or invert it– onto a platter. Lightly sift powdered sugar over top to gild the lily and squeeze lemon juice all over to balance the sweetness.
I guess everyone has a different idea of what “lightly sift powdered sugar over top” means. Serve the Apple Puff Pancake with fresh fruit, and sausage, if desired. YUM!
APPLE PUFF PANCAKE
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1/2 Cup Milk
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Flour
- Pinch Ground Nutmeg
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 Apple, peeled and sliced
- 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
- Lemon Wedges
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk eggs with milk in a medium bowl. Add sugar, flour, and nutmeg; whisk until well blended. Set aside while cooking apples.
Melt butter in 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Sauté apples until softened; stir in brown sugar and cinnamon; cook until golden. Whisk the batter again and pour it over the apples in the skillet. Cook an additional minute. Place the pan in the oven and bake until puffed and golden, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and pass lemon wedges to squeeze over top. Serve immediately.