Monday, June 13, 2011

Apple Pancakes

Growing up in South Bend, Indiana, we frequented Bibler's Pancake House. Owned by the family of our neighbors and a classmate of mine, and part of the Original Pancake House chain, Bibler's served up amazing breakfasts. My grandparents loved taking us there any weekend we could go. The line that always ran right out the door and out onto the sidewalk - even despite the often brutally-cold weather - was a definite indication of the meal to come. The atmosphere was old-fashioned, the coffee was hot, and the food outstanding. No longer owned by the Biblers, the Original Pancake House still stands, and it still boasts the same menu. My favorite? The Apple Pancake. It is absolutely amazing - a food you will dream about months (even years!) after tasting. The pancake takes over an hour to prepare, so the wait can be long...but well worth it.



I have been trying for years to re-create this gem to no avail. Most of the recipes I've found are way too cake-y. Bibler's is egg-y, dense, and rich-as-can-be. Most of the recipes are made in a pie pan. Bibler's was made in an iron skillet on the stovetop and finished up in the oven. Most of the recipes take 15-20 minutes. Bibler's, start-to-finish, takes an hour and a half. I'd long-abandoned my search and had settled on a visit to Bibler's every time we make the trek back to South Bend...until yesterday. My daily recipe from Allrecipes.com was one for a German pancake - another dish Bibler's does well. It set my apple-pancake-craving wheels in motion once again, and I found a recipe that looked promising. I was feeling pretty terrible with a head cold, I had cranky kids, and we were in the middle of a minor home-improvement project. But, as I sat thinking about this pancake, I knew it couldn't wait. So, in the hustle-and-bustle, I made my way into the kitchen and got to work making only a few minor changes out of convenience. This recipe is almost exactly the same as the apple pancake I know and love! I know all of the ingredients are staples in my house. If you have any doubt whatsoever about whether you should jump off the couch and go make this right this very minute, doubt no more. You will not be sorry!


Bibler's Apple Pancakes

(adapted from a recipe found here)


3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 medium gala apples, peeled, cored, and sliced


Melt the butter in an oven-safe skillet* over medium heat. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Dump in the apples, and saute stirring frequently for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let the apple mixture sit for 1 hour to cool. (At this point I set a timer for 40 minutes so I could come back, make the batter, and preheat the oven by the time the 1 hour was up.)


Batter:

3 eggs

2/3 cup half-and-half (I used fat free, and it was perfectly fine)

1 Tablespoon of vanilla

2 Tablespoons of sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup of flour, sifted


Beat the eggs with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add the half-and-half, vanilla, sugar, and salt, and mix until well-combined and until the sugar has dissolved. Add the flour, and stir slowly until it is completely mixed in. Let this sit for 10 minutes while preheating the oven to 475 degrees.


When the apple mixture is completely cooled and has been sitting for 1 hour, slowly pour the batter over the apple mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes, or until the top begins to brown. (The recipe I followed says to bake for 16-18 minutes, but mine was well done at 15. This largely depends on your oven, I imagine.)


Your finished pancake will look like this:

Let sit for 1 or 2 minutes, then loosen the edges with a rubber spatula. Place a large plate or platter upside-down on top of the skillet, and flip it over. Your pancake should drop easily onto your plate.

I love this pancake as-is, but Bibler's served it with powdered sugar to sprinkle on top. This just may become a new Christmas morning tradition around here. Delicious! If you make this, please make sure to stop back by and let me know how you like it.


*My skillets are oven-safe to 450 degrees. But I learned a trick years ago that I've used up to 500 degrees, and it has worked just fine. There is a small rubber grip on the underside of the handle on my pans, and that is the only part that is not oven-safe. I just wrap the handle with aluminum foil loosely before placing in the oven, and my handles have never been affected.

1 comment:

Brandon and Jenny said...

This looks like apple pie in breakfast form! Going to try this next weekend!