The Giant Pancake: Rebellion at 25

Little did you know, my mom’s been looking out for you. Time and again, when I find myself tempted to share yet another batch of pancakes with you – one of my true loves in life, you see – my food conscience forces me to call my mother and validate what I already know to be true: it’s too soon, Stephanie, too soon. And so, thanks to my mom, you guys get some variety and I don’t have to upgrade my pant size. 

But last weekend, I turned 25. And I never did take advantage of the teenage rebellion stage of life (busy studying, I didn’t see it sulk by). So, between the birthday and my mild teen years, I figured I’d earned the opportunity to indulge my deviant side and my love for pancakes, and skip the self-inflicted phone call intervention. (Wild times, I know. Pretty soon, I’m going to start putting alcohol in baking, maybe.)
 
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So I made a pancake. A single, giant, apple-topped pancake, that bubbles up as it bakes, like some sort of science experiment accidentally brought to life. I would like to say that I ate it all in one sitting, out of sheer delight and defiance, topped with mountains of whipped cream and sprinkles. But guys, I’m old now (25 is the magic threshold for old, if you weren’t sure). So I ate a slice, slowly, with a cup of coffee, as I read the news. And it was kind of delightful.
 
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Of course, in some sort of karmic retribution for my pseudo-bad behaviour, I messed the thing up a little. Thinking, for no good reason, that I was going to flip the pancake upside down before serving it (nowhere in the recipe did it say to do this, so don’t), I spiraled the apples incorrectly (yes, such a thing can be done), causing the ones in the centre to sink unceremoniously into the base of the pancake instead of floating atop the custardy cake as intended. Wisdom comes later, I guess. 

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In an attempt to remedy my wrong, I made the giant pancake again this weekend to share with my sister and brother-in-law, spiraling the apples correctly this time around. And while the end result is still a bit wonky looking, it’s delicious. Characterized aptly by my sister as French toast without the toast, it’s more of a dessert than a proper breakfast. But who am I to tell you when to make a giant pancake? Now, if you want to talk to my mom…
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German Apple Pancake
Adapted from allrecipes.com
Serves 4

Ingredients
4 eggs, organic if possible
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp white sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 cup of milk (any kind will do)
2 tbsp melted, unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp grated or ground nutmeg

1/4 cup white sugar, divided in half
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated or ground nutmeg 
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced into thin wedges (1/8-inch thick or so)

Directions

1. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt until smooth. Gradually pour in milk, whisking constantly until smooth. Add butter, vanilla and nutmeg and whisk until totally combined. Let mixture stand 30 minutes, or overnight. 

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2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 

3. Place the 1/4 cup of butter in a 10-inch baking pan*, and place the pan in the preheated oven until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the oven and brush the butter up the sides of the pan. Combine 2 tbsp of sugar with the cinnamon and nutmeg, then sprinkle the mixture evenly over the base of the pan. Place apples in the pan, overlapping them slightly and circling around the edge of the pan before working your way into the middle (opposite of what I’ve done in the photo!). Sprinkle apples with the remaining 2 tbsp of sugar. Place the pan back in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the apples start to soften and the sugar forms a golden syrup that bubbles at the edges of the pan. Remove the pan from the oven. 

Step_2.jpg4. Carefully pour the batter in the pan, taking care not to move the apples around excessively. Bake the pancake in the oven for 15 minutes at 425 Farenheit, then reduce the heat to 375 and bake for 10 minutes more. Carefully remove the pancake from the oven and, once it’s deflated, carefully remove it from the pan with a spatula. Top with powdered sugar, slice into wedges and serve. 

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*You can also do the entirety of Step 3 in a 10-inch oven-safe skillet, melting the butter over low heat, then increasing to medium-high heat once you’ve topped the apples with sugar. 

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