I have a confession to make. Cue drumroll... I am not much of a breakfast person. *Gasp*
It's not that I dislike breakfast. I just am not willing to put in the extra effort to cook anything, during the week, when I have to wake up at 6 a.m. So, for the past few years, my breakfast has consisted of oatmeal and whole grain cereals. While I ate a good amount of oatmeal in graduate school, I've inadvertently embraced whole grain cereals as my breakfast of choice over the past year. It's quicker. There are four that I eat rather consistently--Kashi Golean Crunch Honey Almond Flax, Quaker Oatmeal Squares, Giant (store brand) Fiber Select Bran Cereal, and Trader Joe's Toasted Oatmeal Flakes. These cereals are flavorful and full of complex carbohydrates, making them a great source of energy. When eaten with reduced or low fat milk or a soy or almond milk, in my case, whole grain cereal is an excellent breakfast choice that provides nutrients from two food groups. It's also pretty low in calories, which gives me a little more leeway to enjoy healthy snacks during the day and have a satisfying lunch and dinner without going over my calorie recommendations.
Enter weekend brunch. Brunch is altogether a different beast than breakfast. Brunch can go as late as 4 p.m. and combines traditional breakfast foods with the savory foods that are more often associated with lunch and dinner. With work obligations out of sight and out of mind, brunch is a time to finally relax, indulge, and savor your food.
I spent the past week promoting local food, farmers markets, and Maryland apples on my job. After so many apple tastings, I thought I would have to take a break from eating apples. But, how could I not take advantage of having an apple corer (used for my job) on hand? This amazing device peels, cores, and slices apples in about 30 seconds, resulting in a slinky apple. I kid you not...
I also bought apples at the market this past week since they were on sale, and I hate to waste food. So, quite naturally, I woke up yesterday morning wondering what could I make with apples. I considered applesauce and fried apple pies when I suddenly remembered this awe-inspiring recipe from The Kitchn for The Apple Pancake. Honestly, it had me salivating for days after I first saw it. The rest is history, folks.
My apple pancake turned out quite different from theirs. Apparently, I didn't chop my apple finely enough so they didn't condense and caramelize as much as they should have. Instead, my apple were stacked and layered (a technique I've been trying to figure out for quite a while). I also substituted one ingredient and added walnuts. This pancake was quite delicious for brunch and an excellent dessert for dinner (with a side of fat free frozen vanilla yogurt).
Here's the recipe for my final product...
The Amazing Apple Pancake
- 3 medium Gala apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into half moons
- 4 tablespoons white sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 5 eggs
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
In a small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of sugar with the cinnamon and ginger and set aside.
Cut the butter into chucks and place them in a deep cast iron skillet. Put the skillet in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the butter is melted. Remove pan from the oven and carefully sprinkle the brown sugar over the melted butter. Add the apples on top of the brown sugar and sprinkle the cinnamon mixture over the top. Put the skillet back in the oven to caramelize the apples and sugar.
Whisk the flour with the remaining sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly with a large wire whisk to beat out any lumps. When the flour is smoothly incorporated into the milk, beat in the vanilla and the eggs one at a time. Beat the mixture by hand for 2 minutes, or until foamy. Allow the batter to rest for 5 minutes. By now the sugar should be bubbling around the apples.
Remove the skillet from the oven and pour the batter over the apples. Bake for 20 minutes or until the center is set and sides are lighted browned. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes. Slice and transfer to a serving plate to enjoy.
Recipe adapted from thekitchn.com -- Weekend Breakfast Recipe: The Apple Pancake