I should be ashamed of myself that I live but an hour from Hood River, and yet it took me nearly five years to explore the Fruit Loop. I know, I know! I guess I was trying to keep my u-pick addiction confined to the summer months, but now that the Apple and Pear Beast Within has been unleashed, there is no turning back. Over the weekend, my lovely friend Laura and a few of her work friends and I went to Kiyokawa Orchard. I had bought some Pink Pearl apples, a lovely tart pink-fleshed variety, from them at the PSU Farmer's market a few weeks back, and I really wanted more. Not to mention that they charge a lot less for the apples at their orchard than they do at the farmer's market, so it should be no surprise that not only did I get my Pink Pearl apples, I also bought 10 other kinds of apples and 4 kinds of pears. And also some cider. I will be eating apples for quite some time.... but I'm not bummed about that at all.
A German pancake, also known as a Dutch Baby, is normally cooked in a skillet. It has impressive poofing capabilities thanks to the amount of eggs in the batter, but it always deflates almost immediately after removing from the oven. But be not dismayed, because now it's practically the perfect vessel for a spiked apple sauce. I would describe the taste of a German pancake as Pancake Meets Crepe, Falls in Love, Gets Married, Has a Baby. Now take that baby and spoon it into muffin tins, and you'll end up with little individual German pancakes. How delightful!
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp table salt
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2-3 tart apples, such as Pink Pearl or Granny Smith, peeled, cored and diced (I used 3 because the apples were on the smaller side)
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup calvados (apple brandy)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Add the milk, sugar, vanilla, zest, butter and eggs to your blender jar and blend to combine. Add the flour and salt and blend until completely smooth, about 1 minute.
3. Pour the batter into the muffin tins until 3/4 full. Bake until puffy and golden brown (and delicious) on top, 18-20 minutes. Once you remove them from the oven, the centers will immediately start to deflate.
4. Make the Apple-Calvados Sauce: Melt the 1 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the apples and cook until slightly softened (but not mushy,!) about 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the 1/3 cup brown sugar and the Calvados (apple brandy), and cook until the brandy has reduced by half, about 4 more minutes. Add the heavy cream.
5. Spoon the apple calvados sauce over the finished pancakes and serve immediately.
Makes 12 pancakes