This traditional German pancake made with caramelised apple slices flavoured with cinnamon then topped with a sweet batter reminds me of a tarte tatin’s gorgeous indulgence. I like to add a little calvados or kirsch to the batter to amp it up. As it’s cooked in a very hot oven, the eggy batter bubbles and puffs up dramatically, so serve it at once to enjoy the full impact. Nutmeg ice cream or the brown-sugar whipped cream used here complements it beautifully.
Confusingly, these pancakes are usually referred to as ‘Dutch babies’ in the US and Canada. They’ve recently become an Instagram obsession. The name was supposedly coined in the early 1900s by the daughter of the owner of Manca’s Café, a family-run restaurant in Seattle, Washington. The café no longer exists, yet the name lives on. The ‘Dutch’ refers to the group of German–American immigrants known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, although ‘Dutch’ is understood to be a corruption of Deutsch. Savoury Dutch babies filled with goat’s cheese and parmesan, rosemary and thyme are great too.
4 large eating apples (Braeburn are good), peeled, cored and sliced
4 tablespoons light soft brown sugar, plus 30g extra
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
125g plain flour, sifted
3 tablespoons golden caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
175ml semi-skimmed milk
50ml Greek yogurt
3 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoon calvados or kirsch (optional)
300ml whipping cream
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Dietary: USE GLUTEN-FREE PLAIN FLOUR
Makes: 1 X 24CM, SERVES 4
Preheat the oven to 230°C/gas mark 8.
Melt the butter in a large 24cm ovenproof, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the sliced apples and sprinkle over the 4 tablespoons brown sugar and the cinnamon. Cook the apples gently for 8–10 minutes until just starting to soften and caramelise, then transfer the apple to a plate. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, yogurt, eggs, vanilla and calvados, if using. Add to the flour mixture and whisk again to ensure there are no lumps and the batter has the consistency of double cream.
Pour the batter over the apples. Put into the hot oven and cook for 15–20 minutes until the batter has puffed up, has just started to set in the centre and is turning golden at the edges. While it is cooking, put the whipping cream and 30g brown sugar in a bowl and whip with an electric or hand whisk until the sugar is gently incorporated. Transfer the cream to a serving bowl. When the apple pancake is cooked, immediately turn it out of the pan and serve it cut into wedges with the brown-sugar whipped cream.
*Recipe and image extracted from Flipping Good! By Sudi Pigott, published by Kyle Books, photography by Maja Smend