The apple features prominently in the mythology of Europe and the Middle East. For early Germanic peoples, apples represented eternal youth and fertility. Later, they came to symbolize evil and the forbidden. The Latin word for apple, mālum, is similar to the word for evil – mălum. And this is where the generic name Malus comes from. Malus is in the Rosaceae family, making it closely related to another highly symbolic plant – the rose.
Apples are at their peak this time of year, and nothing tastes better on a chilly Fall morning than this big, fluffy, crispy pancake. In Germany, it is known as Pfannkuchen, and resembles a French crêpe.
1/2 c flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c milk
1/3 c cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp butter
3-4 apples, sliced*
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 500°F. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, and vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry, whisking until well combined. Set aside.
Peel, core, and cut the apples into 1/2 inch thick slices.
Heat a cast iron skillet and add the butter. When melted, add the apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. When the apples begin to brown, remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice. Quickly pour the batter around the edges of the pan, and then pour the remaining over the apples.
Place on the upper-middle rack in the oven, turn the heat down to 425°F, and bake for about 20 minutes. When the edges and top of the pancake are dark golden brown and crisp, remove from the oven. Serve with maple syrup and a good cup of coffee.
*A few notes on the ingredients…
The best apples for baking are varieties that are tart and firm. I used a combination of Winesap, Pippin, and Pink Lady. Mixing varieties usually leads to a more complex product that is at once sweet, sour, and tart.