Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Around the World with Pancakes: Apfelpfannkuchen {German Apple Pancakes: To Bake or Not To Bake}

We're trying out pancakes from around the world, looking beyond fluffy pancakes and beyond breakfast food

This post was going to be a bit of a cheat. German baked apple pancakes aren't new to us, they are a treat we make a few times a year, usually when we are entertaining, like our brunch for Easter. But since I can't leave well enough alone, I wanted to read some cultural tidbit, thinking I'd find something along the lines of growing up waiting for the pancake to rise in oma's kitchen. What I came to learn is that these baked "German" apple pancakes are an Americanized version of German apple pancakes.

Left, traditional Apfelpfannkuchen; Right, German apple pancakes

The traditional pancakes have all the same ingredients, with a bit more milk, but are not in fact baked. They are cooked in a skillet, on the stove top cooked up as individual pancakes, and remain rather flat. Baked German apple pancakes, also known as Dutch Baby pancakes, bake in the oven and puff up. They both have an eggy thin batter that tastes different from typical pancakes. How do I know how they both taste? Well, realizing I was mistaken, we had to try traditional apfelpfannkuchen, which means this post is less of a cheat after all :) Which also means, more pancakes for us. And so below is nearly the same recipe, with two ways of preparing it. 


Apfelpfannkuchen


Serves 4
  • 2 apples
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Blend together the eggs, milk, flour and salt. We use a handheld immersion blender, but a regular blender works just as well (I just don't like the washing up of blenders).



2. Peel, core and slice the apples thinly. Toss together with the lemon juice, 1 tbsp sugar and 1/4 tsp cinnamon.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the rest of the cinnamon and sugar.

4. Melt 1/2 tbsp butter in skillet over medium heat, then add 1/4 cup of batter. Place 1/4 of the apple slices over the batter, then spoon 2 tbsp more batter over the apples. Cook for 5 minutes, flip and bake for another 2 minutes.

Because one skillet makes one pancake, I recommend having two skillets going at once if you can. Keep the finished pancakes warming in the oven until all are ready to eat.

Serve with a pat of butter and a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar. 

German Apple Baked Pancakes


Also known as Dutch baby pancakes, these sweet puffy pancakes are an adaptation of traditional German apple pancakes. Apparently they were introduced in Seattle in the first half of the 20th century. They were dubbed "Dutch" based on the Pennsylvania Dutch, where "Dutch" is a misspelled version of Deutsch. 

This recipe is great when entertaining since you only need to get one batch going in the oven. It can be sliced and served afterwards or can be made in large muffin tins for individual pancakes. They're a big hit whenever we serve them. I have often made them with oat flour instead of all purpose to make them wheat free for my sister and she loves them.

Serves 4-6
  • 3 apples (preferably granny smith)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar (+ more to dust muffin tin)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400. If making individual baked pancakes, grease a jumbo muffin tin and sprinkle with sugar.

1. Blend together the eggs, milk, flour, sugar and salt. We use a handheld immersion blender, but a regular blender works just as well (I just don't like the washing up of blenders).


2. Peel, core and slice the apples thinly. Toss together with the lemon juice, brown sugar and cinnamon. If making individual ones, dice the apples rather than slice them.


3. Heat an ovenproof pan on medium heat, and melt the butter. Add the apples and cook to soften and caramelize. For sliced apples, this only takes 5 minutes of so, for diced apples, this takes 10-12 minutes.

4. For the large pancake, pour batter directly over the softened sliced apples. For individual pancakes, distribute the apples evenly among the 6 muffin tins, then pour batter over them.

5. Bake at 400F for approximately 20 minutes, once the sides are golden and puffed up noticeably. They will fall once they've cooled a little out of the oven. 

These are best served warm, but have been relished on a buffet table at room temperature :)


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9 comments:

  1. What a great idea! Pancakes are so universal - and food is a yummy and useful way to teach kids about countries and culture. If it's ok, I'm going to link a post to this. Nathalie

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  2. I had no idea that the German recipe was not baked. I would like to try this version as we have made the baked kind before.

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    1. At least not as far as I could find from what I've read online - and I really wanted to find proof that it was from Germany! I have to admit, my preference is the baked kind.

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  3. I've never heard of either of these types of pancakes but they are going on my list! I think pancakes might be my favourite food of all time :-)

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    1. Pancakes are so great! Breakfast, snack, lunch - so versatile! You'll have to let me know what you think - to bake or not to bake :)

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  4. They look so good. I think I might start a tradition, inspired by you. Pancakes once a week, but made differently each time. We need to eat more pancakes!!

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    1. You do! You do need to eat more pancakes :) And let me know if you have any recommendations.

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  5. This is so interesting! Love pancake! Thank you for sharing it with us #Pintorials

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