Back in the Sep. 11 diner’s edition of our subscription newsletter, we ran a recipe for pannekoeken. If you don’t know the dish, it’s the oven-baked apple pancake that happens to power a not inconsiderable percentage of our mornings here at Heavy Table HQ in South Minneapolis.
It takes a relatively long time to bake (25-30 minutes in the oven) but the actual assembly is little more than peeling and slicing apples. Combined with its dramatic presentation, it’s a terrific bang-for-the-buck breakfast. We enjoy it on any given weekday when we have the foresight to get up a little earlier than usual, but we’ve also used to royally (and effortlessly!) entertain houseguests, who have been universally pleased by the dish’s showy appearance and general apple-cinnamon deliciousness. It also manages to perfectly unite the useful (eggs, apples) with the delicious (cinnamon sugar, maple syrup) to make a provocatively tasty breakfast that will also carry you through your day.
In the weeks that followed the recipe’s publication, we’ve received emails (and photographs!) from five different readers sharing their successful pannekoeken adventures. It’s that kind of a dish – even though it’s a pretty straightforward recipe, it feels magical thanks in large part to its steam-assisted towering rise and the dramatic oven browning of its eggs and sugars.
And as a result of those conversations and a spelunking of my own childhood memories of my mom’s stove-top apple pancakes, I’ve come up with an additional step for this recipe if you have the time and inclination to add one.
By sauteeing your sliced apples in a skillet with a splash of apple-friendly alcohol before they bake, you get denser, chewier, more flavorful apples. And as an added bonus, the hot apples add even more heat to the early stages of pannekoeken baking, which makes for a better rise and higher pancake. Is it worth the extra work and time? That’s up to you, and the state of your morning. But we’re sold.
PANNEKOEKEN AND BANANAKOEKEN
6 Tbsp. of butter
3 apples peeled and sliced, then dredged in 3:1 sugar:cinnamon mixture OR 3 bananas sliced thick and dredged in cinnamon sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
1 1/2 cup of flour
1 1/2 cup of milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Melt butter in 9 x 13″ pan, tilting to coat sides
Mix flour, salt, milk, and eggs together into batter – aggressively whisk to break down lumps of flour
Put fruit in bottom of buttered pan, then cover with batter
Sprinkle top of pannekoeken liberally with cinnamon sugar
Bake for 30 minutes – pannekoeken will puff up in the oven and brown
Serve with maple syrup
OPTIONAL STEP: Before putting your cinnamon sugar-dredged apple slices into the pan that’s headed for the oven, cook them on the stovetop on medium in a heavy saute pan with a splash of booze for 8-12 minutes, stirring occasionally until they lose some of their moisture and brown up. Recommend booze for splashing: Apple Du Nord, any calvados, a good triple sec, Myers’s dark rum.