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Apple Pandemonium ~ A Recipe

November 3, 2022

A basket sits on my counter; it is full of lovely red Jonathan apples that have fallen from my apple tree. I know many more will be coming soon, as our apple tree is astonishingly bountiful! It’s gifts are small, crisp and tart. This is the season for trying every apple recipe I can think of, so one morning I decided it would be fun to experiment. I wanted to recreate something similar to an apple “pannekoeken” that I enjoyed once in Amsterdam years ago. 

After I finished college, I spent a whole year studying Early Music (Renaissance through Baroque) in the Netherlands. Strolling along the canals of Amsterdam was one of my favorite things to do that year. Windows peeked back at me, adorned with white lace curtains. I loved to look up at the houses and imagine the people who lived in them. These skinny, precariously tall buildings were joined together side-by-side like a colorful row of tulips. Many were crowned with curving, ornate wooden trim. Some were so old that they were tilting sideways on their pilings, which held them steady, close to the water. 

One stop on my walk was usually the pancake shop, where a little table right on the edge of the water allowed me to eat a delicious breakfast slowly, watching the bicyclists going back and forth and an occasional boat floating along the canal. My favorite pancake of all was the one with apple slices cooked right on top of the batter in the pan – a pannekoeken. 

A Dutch pannekoeken is a breakfast treat that’s a bit more egg-y than an American pancake, and different from a German kuchen or a French clafouti. My recipe is an original creation, and it calls for just one skillet — both for cooking and serving the dish. It’s slightly sweet, and the self-rising flour gives it a nice lightness. But you can also use all-purpose flour if that’s what you have on hand. I’m calling it ‘Apple Pandemonium’ because that’s the best way to describe apple season at my house! It’s lovely served warm, right out of the oven. I’ve made it for breakfast, but you could also serve it for dessert, topped with whipped cream and drizzled with maple syrup. Actually, what’s to prevent you from enjoying those good things for breakfast too?!

 

 

Apple Pandemonium

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the apples:

4 large cooking apples (or 12-16 tiny home-grown ones), peeled, cored, and sliced

2 tablespoons salted butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons brown sugar

For the pancake:

2 tablespoons salted butter

4 large eggs

3/4 cup half-n-half

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup self-rising flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

2 teaspoons sugar

Maple syrup and whipped cream for serving, if desired

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

1. Prepare the apples: melt the 2 tablespoons of salted butter in a heavy, oven-safe skillet. Cast iron is a good choice, if you have it. Add the apple slices, salt, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring often, until the apples begin to soften and caramelize just a bit. 

2. Remove the apples to a bowl and stir the brown sugar into the apples. Set aside. (If you cook the brown sugar with the apples, you will likely end up with a brown sticky bottom to your pancake. I added the sugar to the apples after removing them to a bowl.)

3. Prepare the pan: add the 2 tablespoons of salted butter to the same pan that you’ve used for the apples. The heat remaining in the pan will melt the butter.

4. In a small bowl, beat the 4 eggs until foamy. Add the half-n-half and almond extract and mix well, then add the flour, salt, and spices. Stir with a whisk to combine everything well. 

5. Place the skillet containing the melted butter in the oven for a minute to get it good and hot, but don’t burn the butter. This will help prevent the pancake from sticking to the pan.

6. Take the skillet out of the oven and immediately pour the batter over the melted butter. Gently lay the apple slices on top the batter, dropping the slices evenly across the top. Go ahead and drizzle any juice left in the bottom of the apple bowl over this. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar.

7. Place the pan in the oven on the center rack and set the timer for 20 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until the top is just golden brown.

8. To serve, cut the Apple Pandemonium in slices and serve hot with a little maple syrup drizzled on top (and whipped cream!) if you feel indulgent.

 



The featured images are courtesy of Steve Moon and used with his kind permission for Cultivating.



 

 

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