German Apple Pancake

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.

German Apple Pancake

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
2 eggs
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.

German Apple Pancake

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.

German Apple Pancake

*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.


6 thoughts on “German Apple Pancake

    • Hi Jennifer! Yeah, I would probably use a 10-inch glass pie dish as the next best option. If you’re interested in buying a cast iron skillet, Lodge is a good choice. They’re pre-seasoned, inexpensive, and available just about anywhere. I have the 10.25-inch model and use it all the time!

  1. Monika says:

    Ehm… yes. Me German. Vanilla is not part of the German cuisine, but given that you have all the culinary freedom you wish, well… sounds nice!
    But what we really do at home (and I come from an area where apple pancakes are a verrrry traditional dish and traditionally served with a green bean and potato soup called “Schlopp”) are pancakes on a very liquid yeast dough basis. Prepare a light and runny dough with flour, eggs, fresh yeast, buttermilk, a pinch of salt and no sugar (there’s enough of that in the apples) and some nutmeg (!), let proof for half an our and in the meantime chop up your apples into very fine pieces and then sink them in the dough, and fry like any other pancake in a good heavy cast iron pan, preferably in butter. Eat as a side dish with bean soup, lentil stew or potato soup. 🙂

    • Hi Monika! Wow, yeast? That’s definitely different than what I have here! My understanding is that the American version of Apfelpfannnkuchen started with German immigrants and then morphed into what we have here. It’s sometimes called a “Dutch Baby”. We always have it at breakfast, but it sounds like it’s usually served at dinner in Germany, is that right?

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