You know those recipes that just reach up off the page, grab you by the lapels and scream "make me"? Well, for me, this was one of them. I first laid eyes on it yesterday while tooling around on the Gourmet website, and within twenty four hours it was sitting on the counter, dusted with powdered sugar. We had it for brunch on Sunday morning with some bacon and Linkery kielbasas. When it was time to serve, I just added the bacon to the sausage pan and placed both skillets on the table. Maybe not the most elegant solution - but for a football brunch, it worked.
I've tried similar recipes in the past, but they've never been quite as successful as this one. It's more of a clafoutis than a dutch baby, not too eggy, not too airy - just the right amount of sweet. To make it into a dessert - something like a souffle version of Tarte Tatin - you could caramelize the apples in a little bit of sugar along with the butter before pouring the egg batter over. It would be the perfect conclusion for a fall Sunday supper.
Big Apple Pancake
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, November, 2004
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 large or 2-3 small sweet apples such as Gala or Golden Delicious, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-wide wedges
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
Confectioners sugar for dusting
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.
Melt butter in skillet over moderate heat, then transfer 2 tablespoons to a blender (I used a hand blender in a high-sided bowl.) Add apple wedges to skillet and cook, turning once, until beginning to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
While the apples are cooking, add milk, flour, eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt to butter in blender and blend until smooth.
Pour batter over apples and transfer skillet to oven. Bake until pancake is puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. (Mine was getting a little brown, so I reduced the heat to 400 for about the last 5 minutes of baking, and turned it around.)
Dust with confectioners sugar and serve immediately.