Wednesday, October 20, 2010

168. German Apple Pancake, Delicious

I had never heard of German apple pancakes until I was an adult. My husband introduced me to a regional version of this dish when he took me to the Walker Brothers' Original Pancake House in Wilmette, a very wealthy Chicago suburban town. Every time we visited that restaurant, a hungry line of patrons wrapped around the front of the building. Once inside, the impressive amenities of this breakfast spot amazed me as much as the food. A gallery of finely crafted and polished wooden chairs and benches, panels, columns and artifacts gave it a very expensive, old-world feeling. This was no IHOP.

I was told by my husband that I had to order the German apple pancake...the restaurant's secret, signature recipe. When our waitress returned, she presented us with huge plates of food. Each pancake was a gigantic, thick, gooey pastry. The cinnamon and apples were lavish and so hot that anyone who took a bite without waiting for five for ten minutes wound up with a burned tongue. When the creation was able to be sampled, it certainly lived up to its hype...sweet, tender and wonderful. Most people took half of their pancake was just too much to eat.

I never tried to duplicate that pancake...failure would be costly and time consuming. I did, however, find a recipe for a different kind of German pancake. It looks nothing like the one from the Pancake House. The pastry puffs up in the oven at first and then, shrinks to a thin layer when finished. Sweetened apples are sauteed with real butter and freshly ground nutmeg. The apple pancake is more of a construction than a baked is a light, flavorful and delicious recipe.

The directions for the pastry must be followed to the letter, or it will fail...I misjudged the necessity for the exact measurement of the shortening once and the pancake did not puff up. That failure upset me so much, I had to make four pancakes in a row until I figured out what the problem was...I never had that trouble before or since...I hope you won't either.

German Apple Pancakes

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

3 large eggs
¾ C Milk
¾ C flour
½ tsp salt

1 T unsalted shortening, for 10-inch skillet; 1 ½ T for 12-inch skillet

1 T melted butter

1 T sugar

Combine first four ingredients in med. sized bowl. Beat 2-3 minutes.

Melt shortening in heavy skillet. When very hot, pour in batter and bake in *450 degree oven 15 min. Lower temp to 350 degrees and bake 10 min longer or until golden brown and crisp. *

When pancake puffs up in center during first part of baking, puncture it well with fork.

When finished baking, remove pan from oven and slide pancake out onto long platter; drizzle pastry with 1 T hot, melted butter and
1 T sugar evenly over surface. Spread half of pancake with warm apple filling. Fold pancake in half. Drizzle top with butter and sugar. Cut into 4 wedges. Serve immediately.

Apple filling:

2-3 large golden delicious apples, pared, cored and sliced
3 T butter
3 T sugar
1/4 tsp grated nutme
Sauté apple slices in butter; season with sugar and fresh grated nutmeg.

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