When I was growing up one of my favorite breakfast treats was a traditional German apple pancake: one big, fluffy, puffed-up pancake filled with apples. We usually started this in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet on the stovetop and finished it in a hot oven. It made, at most, six servings. Alas, one main ingredient was (wheat) flour. When my daughter Sarah was diagnosed with celiac disease and I made the move to a gluten-free kitchen and pantry, German apple pancake was no longer on our family menu. However, “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and I really hungered for a second taste of this childhood favorite.
The successful breakfast recipes I developed for Cooking for Your Gluten-Free Teen gave me confidence: why not try and develop a gluten-free German apple pancake? I replaced wheat flour with my easy 1, 2, 3, Gluten-Free Flour (I always have a 15-cup batch mixed and stored), and decided that for our family of five, one large pancake wasn’t enough, especially if there was company. So I created a recipe that makes eight big, beautiful, puffy oven-baked German apple pancakes. Even my great grandfather, Herman Berghoff, who founded the Berghoff Restaurant in 1898, would have loved them.
These pancakes can be successfully baked, wrapped, refrigerated and reheated in the microwave—unlike pancakes or baked goods made with wheat flour which often get tough and “rubbery” in the microwave. They can also be reheated in the oven. And, the batter, as well as the sautéed apples, can be prepare and refrigerated, covered, for up to three days. That means from zero to apple pancakes in 30 minutes! What’s not to love?
About baking containers: if you haven’t discovered the readily available oven-safe paper baking molds, I believe you will be as thrilled as I was once you use them. They come in different sizes and shapes, are easy to use, and you can serve in them or else release the baked item and plate it. The size I used for the GF German Apple Pancakes measured 3.9 inches round by 1.2 inches high, with an 8-ounce capacity.
The capacity is easily measured by pouring in exactly one cup of water to the rim. You can also bake in ceramic ramekins or gratin dishes, as long as each has that 1-cup capacity.
- 3 tablespoons butter or non-dairy alternative
- 1 ½ pounds Granny Smith apples (about 4 to 5), peeled, cored, chopped into ½-inch pieces
- ¼ cup very firmly packed brown sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk or non-dairy alternative
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons melted butter or non-dairy alternative
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- ¾ cup 1, 2, 3, Gluten-Free Flour (see April 25 blog)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Pure maple syrup, as needed
- In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add apples and sugar and stir to mix. Cook, stirring and turning apples occasionally, until apples are soft, caramelized and syrupy. Transfer apples and syrup to a small bowl; let cool to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer, beat eggs until light, lemon-colored and fluffy. Add sugar and beat until dissolved. Add butter and vanilla and beat. Reserve.
- In a separate bowl combine GF flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to mix. Add to egg mixture and beat to make a smooth batter.
- Position 8 1-cup capacity baking dishes, preferably oven-safe paper, on a half-sheet pan. Spray inside with nonstick cooking spray.
- Ladle scant ½ cup of batter into each baking dish, using all the batter. Top each with reserved apples, about ¼ cup per dish.
- Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1 to 1 ½ teaspoon of cinnamon sugar evenly over top of filled baking dishes.
- Bake until puffed and cooked through, 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Serve one pancake (either in the baking dish or removed from the dish) on a plate drizzled with about 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup.
- Cool extra pancakes in baking dish. Wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Unwrap and reheat in a microwave oven for 45 seconds, or for 9 minutes in a preheated 350° oven.
- To make pancakes up to three days ahead: Use pasteurized eggs. Mix batter, wrap and refrigerate. Cook apples, wrap and refrigerate. Before baking, mix batter well using a hand-held mixer. Mix apples with a spoon to distribute the syrup. Bake according to recipe directions.
- For dessert: top warm pancake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
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