Once upon a time, well before Bacon Slayer and I were in the throes of raising four sons, we had a (seemingly) significant amount of disposable income of which we inevitably spend a portion of on Sunday Brunch. Oh, how we loved our Sunday brunches! We’d sleep in, hit the late service at church, and follow it up with a leisurely brunch together at one of many local restaurants.
One of our favorites places for brunch was The Original House of Pancakes, where the food was well worth waiting in a line that wound out the door. Often I’d stick to my usual 49er Flapjacks, but if I was feeling particularly indulgent and long on time, I’d go with the Big Apple Pancake, a version of Dutch Baby with caramel apples–a meal advertised to require an extra thirty minutes to prepare. After eating ourselves silly, sometimes we’d come home from brunch and take a big, fat nap to sleep off the lusciousness.
Ahhh! The days before children…when lounging over meals and sleeping in excess were sport.
Enter: The Sons.
Leisurely brunches chased with gratuitous naps became a thing of the past once Sons #1 & #2 came on the scene. We quickly learned that parents of a preschooler and a toddler don’t do brunch. Parents of a preschooler and a toddler don’t wait in line for an hour and then order menu items that require an extra half and hour to prepare.
Nope. Not ever.
Parents of a preschooler and a toddler scramble to get the two kids ready for church on a Sunday morning, slam a bowl of cereal down their gullets, and
lead foot it drive responsibly to the service with the hope of getting there before it ends.
Big Apple Pancakes and 49er Flapjacks do not apply to such parents. Sunday Brunches are nothing but a distinct memory in that Season of Life.
Unless of course one of those parents is a Bacon Slayer. A Bacon Slayer clips a recipe out of the newspaper that resembles Big Apple Pancakes, and makes them for his wife.
While entertaining the two Original Sons.
And letting his wife sleep in.
Bacon Slayer first made baked apple pancakes for me one Mother’s Day. I awoke to the smell of cinnamon apples as he and our eldest boys brought me breakfast in bed–it was really something special! I’ll never forget the looks on my boys faces when they delivered my breakfast after helping their daddy make it. They were positively beaming with excitement.
I was the excited one after I took the first bite. The pancakes are almost souffle-like in texture, with tart apples in a buttery, cinnamon-y, caramel-y sauce at the bottom. They tasted similar to the Big Apple Pancakes of memory, but they were even better! Better in part by the fact that my babies helped make them, and also by the fact that Bacon Slayer was distracted by the boys and left the butter melting in the dishes too long, so it browned and gave the pancakes an overall nutty flavor.
How could a sleep deprived father accomplish such a feat? Well, since they’re made in individual casserole dishes, the entire recipe is done in thirty minutes, start to finish, making Baked Apple Pancakes with Brown Butter a perfect brunch for any season of life.
To make brunch special, collect a few Granny Smith apples and some all-purpose flour, cinnamon, salt, eggs, milk, brown sugar, and unsalted butter.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel, core, and chop the apples.
Plop a tablespoon of unsalted butter into each of four (500 mL) individual casserole dishes. Place the dishes in the oven to melt the butter.
Sauté the apples in the remaining butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt over medium heat until they just begin to soften.
Crack the eggs into a blender carafe and give them a whirl on medium speed for 30 seconds. Pour the milk into the eggs, and continue to blend on medium speed for about a minute to combine. Add the flour to the mix, and blend until smooth.
Remove the casserole dishes from the oven, and spoon the apples into the dishes in four equal portions.
Divide the batter evenly between the dishes, filling them about half full. Return the dishes to the oven and bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until golden and puffy.
Serve immediately with additional sliced apples.
Baked Apple Pancakes with Brown Butter
Serves 4 to 6
6 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (About 1 ½ cups)
2 Tbs. brown sugar, packed
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
1 ¼ C. 2% milk
1 ¼ C. all=purpose flour
Additional apple slices for serving, optional
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place one tablespoon of butter into each of four individual (500mL) casserole dishes. (For smaller capacity dishes, divide the 4 tablespoons evenly among them.) Set the dishes in the oven while preparing the apples.
- Sauté apples with the remaining butter and brown sugar in a skillet set over medium-low heat for three minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle the cinnamon and salt over the apples; stirring well to incorporate before reducing the heat to a low to simmer. Prepare the pancake batter while the apples continue to simmer.
- Crack the eggs into a blender carafe and whirl on medium speed for 30 seconds. Pour the milk into the eggs give them another whirl in the blender for 15 seconds. Add the flour to the carafe, and spin on high speed until batter is smooth; about another 10 to 15 seconds.
- Remove the casserole dishes from the oven. (The butter should be melted and beginning to brown.)
- Spoon the apple mixture into the casserole dishes, being sure to divide it evenly.
- Pour the batter over the apples to reach halfway up the sides of the dishes. (Batter should be evenly divided between the dishes.)
- Return the casserole dishes to the oven and bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until pancakes are lightly golden and puffy.
- Serve immediately with additional apple slices, if desired.