German Apple Pancake

The thing about Easter is it’s always still a little chilly — spring, no doubt, but not necessarily warm.  Pirate Kristin grew up in Boston where you wore wooly tights under your frilly Easter dress, and not infrequently “got lucky” … colored eggs are easier to spot in the snow.  Even down here in the Deep South we’ve had a chill in the air most mornings.  This is a wonderfully warming breakfast, while still having lots of fruit.  It’s also quick to make, and entirely from staples … if you count green apples as staples … as many a mariner does.

When your crew looks like this — even the Spaniel Swab is looking for a warm hug! — break out the breakfast treats.

German Apple Pancake

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1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 apple (I like Granny Smith)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
1/4 cup flour
Pinch of  salt

This recipe is from the cookbook that came with my Lodge cast iron pan set — and is one of the only reasons I have even one cast iron pan, a 6″ skillet, aboard!  The recipe makes a pretty good sized pancake that can be split by 2 people, particularly if there’s some bacon or sausage on offer.

To start, peel, core and slice your apples.  I used three smallish apples for two pancakes — double the recipe above.  I lean toward more apple than less, so the fact that mine weren’t huge made me happy to have 1-1/2 per batch.  And … if you only have one skillet, you’re working in batches!  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and stir, which will slow the browning.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

One reason this recipe attracted me was that the author has broken it down into the most efficient steps possible both for preparation and dishwashing!  When the apples are ready, get your milk in a 2-cup measure and have your flour and egg ready.

Melt the butter in the skillet and then pour HALF of it into the milk and whisk.  I’ve never tried making this in a non-cast iron skillet and am … doubtful, but curious so if you do let me know if it works!  It does need to be oven-safe.

Put the pan back on the heat and toss the apples in the remaining butter to coat (half the apples, in my case, saving the other half for pancake number two).  Spread the apples out and cook over medium-high heat until they begin to caramelize — they will soften, a lot of the liquid will have boiled off, and the remaining liquid will get brown and syrupy.  If you’re making just one pancake, be sure to dump all the extra sugar and juice in with the apples; it will help this caramelizing and deliciousness.  In my case, I just hit the first batch with a little extra cinnamon sugar (which I keep premixed in a jar in my galley) right in the pan — since the “extra” was all still in the bottom of the bowl with the lucky second installment.

While the apples are caramelizing, add the egg to the milk and butter and whisk to incorporate the egg.  Then add the flour and salt and whisk until smooth.  Turn off the stove and pour the batter over the apples right in the pan, covering them as much as possible. My skillet is 6″ which is probably about an inch too big — the recipe called for a 5″-er, but this is what I had already.  The pancake comes out a bit thinner, which hasn’t stopped me devouring them yet.

Pop the pan into the hot oven and bake for about 10 minutes until the cake is set, starting to brown a bit and puff up.

I frequently make this for the Skipper and myself and we just eat it straight out of the pan, but you can also invert it onto a plate — and will need to if you need to start a second batch!  You can eat this with maple syrup, as Captain Peter does, but it’s fairly sweet and cinnamony as is … and it’s pre-buttered either way.

Oh by the way … if you’re heeled over, remember to unlatch the gimble on your stove or you may end up with a “sloshy” looking cake at the end, like this one!  Still delicious, but one side sort of crispy and the other almost undercooked a bit.  The perils of cooking underway!

Happy Easter from your Galley Pirates!

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