On a Sunday afternoon, some friends and I drove out to the country, where on either side of the highway, green acres stretch as far as you can see.
There was a lot of talk about farms, about milking cows, about which of us would be first to admit the whole country-living thing sounds appealing.
Personally, I think I’d like very much to eat from my own land, to work with the earth, to wear blue jeans and t-shirts every day. At least I think this now, having never done it.
And after miles of corn fields, sprawling estates, and one high school, we came to our destination: Kuipers Family Farm, which convinced me that I really would like it, this whole rural thing, even more.
There’s just something about an apple orchard. The kind of something that makes you feel young again, like you’re a kid, like there’s nothing in all the world as important as filling your bag with fresh fruit and biting into the juicy flesh of a golden honeycrisp.
This time of year, most of the trees have been picked at prime, leaving large wooden crates filled with apples at the end of rows of bare trees, so we picked from those instead of the branches.
And there was a little boy, maybe seven or eight years old, searching the bins, intent on finding the best fruit. He was loud enough to get the attention of a group of us, pointing at one big, red apple a few inches lower than his arm.
“Could someone hand me that apple right there?” he asked, to no one in particular, but confident he would get it.
Later, I heard him shout, “It’s a really big one!” as he grabbed an apple larger than his fist. I asked him what his secret was, and this is what he told me, after pausing and with complete authority: look for the ones without the bruisings.
We took a hayride into the orchard and a short walk out, on the way in with empty bags and steaming cider, on the way out with clusters of juicy apples, each of us biting into one as we walked.
They were delicious, with crisp skin revealing tender, slightly bitter flesh.
When I got home, I sliced two large honeycrisp apples into thin, thin slices, preparing them for a recipe I’d been eager to try: a puffed apple pancake, taken from the Bon Appetit September 2002 issue.
I felt like I was the star of a cooking show, whipping the ingredients together quickly. The recipe is so simple! With basic ingredients! Easy instructions! I honestly impressed myself, I’ll just admit it.
While the pancake cooked, I even made an omelet which, since I’m feeling transparent, I’ll just say wasn’t quite as impressive, and we’ll leave it at that.
No, but really, if you are enjoying apple season like I am, if you like impressive breakfasty recipes that could not be simpler, if you have been looking for something a little different to try: this puffed apple pancake is the thing.
It will disappear as quickly as you can make it. And while you are at it…take peak at all of Foodal’s best pancake recipes.
Adapted from Bon Appetit, September 2002
- 1 cup skim milk
- 4 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/3 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
- 3 Honeycrisp apples peeled, cored, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Whisk milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in large bowl until well blended. Add flour and whisk until batter is smooth.
- Place butter in a glass pie dish. Place dish in oven until butter melts, about 5 minutes. Remove dish from oven.
- Place apple slices in overlapping rows atop melted butter in baking dish (they don't need to be orderly, particularly if you'd like a rustic look).
- Return to oven and bake until apples begin to soften slightly and butter is bubbling and beginning to brown around edges of dish, about 10 minutes.
- Pour batter over apples in dish and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake pancake until puffed and brown, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve warm.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
Peel your apples with a good quality Y-style peeler and slice them into thin slices with a chef’s knife. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
Speaking of apples, I like to use honeycrisps because I love the sweet-tart taste and they bake well. But any apple variety will work.
Lay out all of your ingredients in one spot and establish your mise en place.
Step 2 – Soften the Apples
Melt the butter in the glass pie dish either in the oven or in a microwave and layer in your apple slices. You can make these layers pretty like I’ve done below or just throw them in the dish for a more rustic look.
Place the apple slices in the oven for about 10 minutes until slightly soft. I typically use a convection style toaster oven for small jobs like this. In this case I’m using one of my favorite models, the Breville Smart Oven Pro.
Step 3 – Make the Egg Batter
Add the eggs, white sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a large mixing bowl and mix well using a balloon whisk. Slowly add the flour and whisk this into the mixture.
I prefer to use a stand mixer for all of this because, well, I’m a bit lazy. In this case, I’m using one of my favorite models, the Cuisinart SM-55.
Remove the apple slices from the oven and pour the batter over them.
Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top. I used a sifter with “finger power” to get an even topping.
Step 4 – Bake and Serve
Pop the pie pan with the egg batter applied back into the oven and bake for approximately 2o minutes.
Remove when the brown sugar becomes caramelized but before it burns.
If you want a slightly sweeter taste, you can sift confectioner’s sugar over the top.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes after baking and serve. Some vanilla ice cream or heavy cream over the top would be a match made in heaven.
What about you? Do you have any favorite apple recipes? Let us know in the comments below and please rate this recipe if you loved it as much as we did!
And if pancakes are your thing, these some of these should trip your trigger:
- Buckwheat Crepes with Honeyed Ricotta and Sautéed Apples
- Fluffy Yogurt Overnight Pancakes
- Orange Coconut Silver Dollars
- Yogurt Overnight Pancakes
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Photos by Mike Quinn unless otherwise noted, © Foodal / Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published October 21st, 2008 by Shanna Mallon. Revised and updated November 23rd, 2017, with additional writing by Mike Quinn.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.
4 thoughts on “Puffed Apple Pancakes: So Simple, So Good!”
oh what sage advice that boy gave! 🙂 as cranky as i am about the cold weather i must say that the apple picking and various apple dishes that come forth during this time of year does make me smile. your pancakes look wonderful, what a great dish to eat on a weekend morning.
You’re such a good blogging friend, Lan! Thanks for your kind comments. 🙂 I hope you get to try these pancakes, by the way–from beginning to end, the prep takes 15 minutes.
Hi, I would like to bake this Christmas morning for about 14 of us….can you double the recipe?. Also, if you can what dish would work best, and is there any modifications to the recipe (cook time etc?) Thanks!
Apologies for the delayed reply, Terri- we were already on vacation when you sent your message. Doubling baked dishes can be complicated, so we would recommend using two separate 8 or 9-inch pie dishes. Hope you were able to enjoy this for the holidays!