Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Apfel Pfannkuchen for One (Apple Pancake, German Pancake, Dutch Baby, Dutch Puff)

 I'm not sure there's anything better for breakfast (or breakfast for dinner)  than Apfel Pfannkuchen  (Apple Pancake).  Maybe there is and I don't know it.  Tender, eggy--almost custardy.  Puffy, sweet (not too), a light touch of cinnamon, buttery-- like a sweet Yorkshire pudding or a popover with fruit made in a pan.  If you've never had it, it's time you made it just for you.  

 This is not a terribly quick breakfast like scrambled eggs, nor is it forty-five minutes like an egg casserole.  There's a bit of slicing and a bit more of whipping than scrambled eggs...to say nothing of a short, breathtaking few minutes in the oven while you set the table and get a bit of powdered sugar together with a fine sieve or a tiny shaker like I have. (I got mine from Pampered Chef.)

 Read and look through the picture recipe before beginning.  Try this:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Core, peel, and slice 1 apple.  In a bowl, mix the slices with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, a tablespoon of lemon juice and a pinch of cinnamon.*  Melt 3 tablespoons of butter** in an 8-10 inch skillet and pour off 1 tablespoon into a small cup. Add the lemony apples to the pan and let them cook over medium heat for 2  minutes.   Meantime...

In a food processor, blender, or using a bowl and whisk or fork, beat together well 1 egg, a pinch of salt, 1/4 cup each milk and flour along with the reserved tablespoon of melted butter.

Pour the egg mixture over the hot apples, place skillet in preheated oven, and bake about 12 minutes, give or take, or until puffed and golden brown.

Using potholders or mitts, remove from oven and..

Turn over onto a warmed platter or put the warm pan on a trivet on the table and serve from there. Here I've made the pancake in my 25-year-old Le Creuset skillet I bought in the French commissary in Germany.  Works just as well in the non-stick pan you bought at Target (or at the garage sale) last week.

Dust with a little powdered sugar and eat as is or cut in half.  I like this with a little sausage or bacon.

One of the sweetest stories about this pancake is that it's forgiving.  You can bake it in a baking pan after microwaving the apples. Got a friend?  You can double the ingredients, bake it in a 12 inch skillet, and have plenty (lots, actually) enough for 2 or smaller servings for 4.  You can skip the apples and just dust with a little powdered sugar.  Change the apples to cherries, pears?  Add strawberries afterward?  Even drizzle with honey or maple syrup if you're feeling terribly American that day.

*If you have a  Penzey's nearby (and if you love Cinnamon), buy their Vietnamese cinnamon.  Sometimes Vietnamese cinnamon is also available in the supermarket and Penzey's sells online, too.
Note:  I am so American, despite the fact that I've lived in Europe.  If you are in Europe, find the best cinnamon you can find! 

 I also admit that I do not remember eating Apfel Pfannkuchen during the two years I lived in Rinteln, Germany.  I've always made it at home.  Perhaps I only ate breakfast "out" while staying in hotels, which was rare for us.  A little bread, a little cheese, a little sliced wurst...and a great cup of coffee; that was the hotel breakfast I remember.  Perhaps a soft-boiled egg occasionally. 

**This is a great deal of butter; I'll give you that. If you are concerned about that, try "Pamming" your skillet to cook the apples and adding just a teaspoon or two (35 or 70 fat calories) of melted butter to the pancake batter.  Since I make Pfannkuchen only only for a special brunch occasionally, I bite the bullet (as it were) and do it with all the butter.
Refills for your own (or their) jar.  Saves money.

Recipe Source:  Marion Cunningham, The Breakfast Book.  (There's really no need to reinvent the pfannkuchen wheel!)

photo courtesy Gourmet
 The late Marion Cunningham was originally a home cook who became a well-known and well-loved food writer, perhaps best known for revising The Fanny Farmer Cookbook.  Read more about Marion, one of my favorite food writers here

Here is one of Marion's bannocks, a  Scots oat cake--shown here with apricot preserves-- I blogged in the post about Marion (click link above on "here")

Update on 30 Soups in 30 Minutes:  The cookbook project is moving along as well as it can, I'd say.  I'm hoping to have the book published before the new year, but am not banking on it!  Right now I'm still testing recipes and editing ones that are done.  Yesterday I worked out a mushroom soup that turned out beautifully, but which must be tested again before it's all over with.  Here's "Two Mushroom-Red Onion Soup with Cheddar."  It's a light soup for lunch (has just a tiny bit of cheese for garnish or can have a small cheese toast in the bowl) or would also make a fine first course for a special meal.

  Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,


  1. Penzey’s Vietnamese cinnamon is my all time favorite and this pancake looks incredible! I love dutch apple pancakes…delicious!!

  2. @Kathy--It's great cinnamon. The smell is addictive! And the pancake's just a "Dutch Baby!"


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