As a child, I remember my mother taking us to a place called Milly’s Pancake House in southern Wisconsin about twice a year for breakfast. The specialty at Milly’s was the baked apple pancake. Each pancake was baked to order and I can remember the wait feeling like forever, but if I sat patiently I was rewarded with my giant, golden pancake. Puffy and crispy on the outside with a custard-like center, studded with warm, soft fresh apples. The cake needed little more than a drizzle of syrup.
This morning, I woke up from a dream about those pancakes and, as I looked out at the perfect golden fall leaves and crisp air outside, I quickly realized the day couldn’t possibly continue without one. Luckily, the recipe calls mostly for pantry staples and I had all the ingredients in the house. Even better, in spite of my childhood assumptions that these cakes were a work of pure magic or immense culinary prowess, it turns out they’re an absolute breeze to put together and you don’t end up standing in your robe over a hot griddle flipping cakes all morning.
Simply peel and thinly slice your apples and arrange in a greased baking dish (or a cast iron skillet for a rustic, fall look), dot with butter and let the apples cook in the oven for a bit. Meanwhile, mix your batter together, then dump into the hot pan, sprinkle evenly with brown sugar and bake for twenty minutes. Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and maple syrup (and, if you’d like, hot coffee and bacon) and watch the delicious disappear — that’s the true magic of this recipe! The JiT called it one of the best breakfasts ever, and that’s saying a lot!
Baked Apple Pancake
2 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and very thinly sliced
3 Tbs. butter
3/4 cup milk
1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour (or 1/4 c. each all purpose and whole wheat flour)
1 Tbs. brown sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet, deep dish pie plate or 9 x 9″ square baking dish. Arrange apple slices in the bottom of the pan in an overlapping pattern. Dot top with butter and place pan in the oven for 10 minutes, or until butter is melted and apples are slightly soft.
Meanwhile, combine milk, eggs, vanilla, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add flour and whisk until batter is smooth. Pull pan from oven and pour batter evenly over the apples. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over all, then place pan back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until pancake is puffed and golden on the top and firm in the center. Serve immediately, warm with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and maple syrup.