These apple pancakes are my favorite Sunday morning breakfast. They look beautiful and have a sort of special occasion air about them. The flavor of the apples and walnuts really shine through and juxtapose the texture of the egg batter that surrounds them.
They are delightfully different from everyday pancakes and perfect for a pampered Spring morning. So, thanks to Uncle Steve (who first taught me how to make them!) I have the perfect breakfast in bed meal for my mom on Mother’s day. Pair them with a cappuccino, vase of fresh flowers and a hug to let mom know how much you love her.
German Apple Pancakes
From: Chrissy Esposito
2 apples (pick firm, sweet apples that are a little tart like Honey Crisp, Braeburn, Pink Lady, Gala and Empire)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
4 Tbs butter
½ tea cinnamon
2 Tbs sugar
1 cup flour
¼ tea kosher or sea salt
1 cup milk
First, prepare the apple filling. Peel and dice the apples and place in a small pan with 2 tablespoons of butter. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and ½ tea cinnamon. Sautee on medium heat for about 10 minutes (the apples will begin to soften and will develop a sort of cinnamon/sugar syrup)
While the apples are softening, sift together the flour, salt, and remaining tablespoon of sugar.
Add the eggs and milk into the flour mixture, being careful not to over mix (a few lumps are okay).
When the apples are done stir in the walnuts and take off the heat.
Grease two 9 inch cake spans (spring-form pans are ideal) by putting one tablespoon of butter in each pan and placing the pans in the oven for a few minutes until the butter melts. Swirl the butter around so it covers the entire bottom of the pan and goes up the sides of the pan too.
Pour the flour and egg batter into the pan. Spoon on the apples and walnuts so they are evenly dispersed.
Bake for about 25 minutes at 425°until the edges start to become golden brown and curl up. The eggs will fluff and rise in the process.
Now, this part is a bit tricky. If you used the spring-form pans, release the spring and with a spatula transfer the pancakes to a place. If you used a normal pan, trace the edges of the pancake with a knife before transferring it to a plate.
I wrote about how I earned my first tip by making this breakfast in my blog last week. What I did not say though, was that this breakfast actually came out of desperation — our car battery had been dead for a week, and of course grocery trips were suspended indefinitely.
Saturday morning, I woke up to an empty fridge. Well, not entirely empty. There was still a couple eggs left, and that was it. I turned to the freezer, and was so happy to dig out a package of thick-cut bacon and a bag of hash browns. Yay!
I was too hungry to defrost the bacon in the fridge (didn’t even have the patience to use the cold-water method). I popped the entire package in to the microwave and waited, impatiently, for a whole two minutes. As soon as the bacon is separable, I threw three slices in a pan over medium-high heat. Soon enough they started sizzling, and the kitchen was filled with a wonderful aroma. Hmm, who needs coffee to wake up?
The beauty of cooking bacon in the morning is that you get a lot of tasty bacon fat to cook with, which was what I used to transform the frozen hash browns into a tasty side. Even better, crack an egg into bacon fat and your sunny-side-up will be just as good as it can get.
I could hardly wait to put everything on a plate and have a bite. Instant gratification! I learned something here: desperation can be the best inspiration sometimes, and that simple food can (and often does) taste great. Now I just wish a fairy would make this breakfast so I could wake up to it every single day!
Thick Cut Bacon, Parsley Hash Brown, and a Sunny-Side Up Egg
From: Danti Chen
3 slices thick cut bacon
1 cup thinly sliced potato sticks (or frozen hash browns)
1 tsp chopped parsley
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp crushed pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Heat up a pan on high, and fry up 3 slices of bacon. Reduce the heat to medium and cook on each side for about 7 minutes.
Take about a table spoon of bacon fat, and put it in another pan on high heat. Throw in a cup of thinly sliced potato.
Add the garlic powder and crushed pepper to the potato. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. Add the chopped parsley.
In a separate pan, add about 1 teaspoon bacon fat, heat it up till sizzling.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and crack an extra large egg into the pan. Crack some pepper and add a pinch of salt on top. Cover, and turn off the heat. Let it sit while the potato and bacon finishes cooking, for about (15 & 14 minutes total). The egg should cook for no more than 6 minutes total with the heat off.
Francesca just had surgery yesterday and while it was a pretty low-key procedure, she was supposed to be out of commission for about a week. We had grand plans to lift her spirits and nurse her back to health, so it was a bit unsettling to find her running around the house this morning and having her drag *me* out of bed this morning. She appears to be the healthiest person in the house right now. That said, we had already promised her a special breakfast this morning so even though she’s doing a terrible job proving she deserves it, we’re committed to french toast and bacon, at least for brunch (oh how we suffer).
Right before my birthday this past spring, I spent a beautiful weekend in Dingle, Ireland also pretending I needed to get well. I was thoroughly fake-stressed, and wanted a weekend of complete relaxation to welcome my 22nd year in style so, when the impending time came, I’d be ready to face the real world head-on. I spent the weekend biking, listening to traditional Irish music, and chatting with strangers in cozy pubs, but a large portion of the credit for the weekend’s “healing” powers goes to the Goat Street Café’s French Toast with Brie and Maple syrup. I swear that no combination of flavors has ever sung so beautifully and harmoniously together – they resonate through your heart like music from a particularly good traditional music session, and with similarly strong healing powers (as long as you don’t have an actual illness). You would never think to put these musicians together, but boy can they play. So to celebrate the art of pretending to get well, we’re putting an East Coast spin with Challah French Toast with Brie and Maple Syrup – and we’re adding a trad playlist to play while you eat. Whether you’re recovering from the Tired Tuesdays or post-sleep hunger, I assure you this is just the cure you need.
And we want to know – what makes you feel better when you’re pretending to be sick? Or do you have any fun spins on traditional breakfast foods? We want to hear all about it!
I know everyone always says their grandmother is the best baker, but mine really is. Really. I think I might actually have a case here because my Oma’s baking isn’t even similar to anybody else’s. Her recipes all come from some undetermined german-hungarian-romanian-austrian place. They’re never too sweet and they always contain a twist ingredient that makes the other ones come alive. The only problem was that up until recently she had a monopoly on her recipes because silly Oma is from the “old country” and Europeans have magical skills and don’t need recipes. But we’ve realized recently that she’s no longer 35 (or 75) and while she shows zero signs of going senile… you never know, and this is not a risk worth taking. So yesterday we had her over for our first Baking with Oma session, where she wrote down the steps as best as she could and we translated them into recipes we (and you) could actually follow.
We started with two recipes, or Oma cautioned that we would be up until 3am. Mom made an apple tart which went… um… I’ll let her tell you the story. But I made Oma’s So Superbly Perfect We Can Only Have It Twice A Year Because Otherwise We’d Eat It Three Meals A Day And Get Superbly Fat Bittersweet Chocolate Yeast Cake. Which is superbly perfect, no lie. We only get it on Christmas and Easter and it’s more or less the highlight of both holidays. It’s fluffy yet dense, and not at all too sweet – which is why we can get away with eating it for breakfast even though it’s totally cake. It peels apart in flaky, chocolatey layers and shimmers with subtle underlying notes of anise. And mine came out! I think I just got lucky but I’m still bragging like I got skills because I’m really excited and I’m super proud. I urge you to make it for yourself – it’s an amazing flavor, and not one you’ve ever had before. The only thing about it is it’s neither quick nor particularly easy – I would recommend having some experience with yeast before you try this one out (I think they made it challenging so we wouldn’t make it too often). But I promise it will be worth all your time and effort – there’s no doubt it will rock your world.
Do you have any special recipes handed down through the generations in your family? Let us know in the comments below!
German Chocolate Chip Yeast Cake
From: Oma (Edith Lang), recorded by Gabrielle Siegel
4 – 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar (you can add 2-3 tbsp more if you like it a little sweeter)
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks butter
5 egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 packet yeast (I think active dry, but I actually need to get back to you on that)
1/2 tsp anise seed
1 package of Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips (or same amount of whatever kind you want)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together 2 1/2 cups of the flour with all of the sugar, yeast and salt.
Place the butter and milk together in a small saucepan and heat until the butter is just melted. The temperature should be about 130° F, or lukewarm to the touch, but if it’s not, heat or cool accordingly.
Add this to the bowl with the flour, and mix on low with the paddle attachment until just blended.
Add the eggs, yolks, vanilla and anise to the mixing bowl, and blend with a paddle attachment on speed 4 for about 10 minutes, and then on speed 6 for about 30 seconds – 1 minute, until a soft dough has formed.
Take off the paddle attachment and replace with a dough hook, and add 1 1/2 cups more flour. Blend on speed 2, until flour is incorporated, and a stiff dough has formed, about 5 minutes. Feel dough – it should be moist, but not too sticky, workable, but not too dry. If you need to, add up to 1/2 a cup more flour, a little at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface, and kneed vigorously for 2-3 minutes, to make sure the texture is correct.
Place the dough in a large oiled or buttered bowl, and place in a warm, moist area to rise, until doubled in size. Be patient – this could take anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours. For best results, cover the bowl in a moist tea towel.
When the dough has risen, punch it down, and turn it out onto a floured surface.
Using a piece of string, measure about how big around your bundt pan is. Roll out the dough to about that width, and as long as it takes to make it about 1/3-inch thick.
Evenly distribute the chocolate chips over the dough, and tightly roll up the dough.
Butter the bundt pan, and place the dough inside, and set it to rise in the same warm place, covered with a moist towel, until doubled in size. Heat the oven to 350° F while you’re doing this.
If desired, brush the top of the dough with an egg-wash made of a beaten egg with about a tablespoon of water (does not need to be precise at all) and bake in the oven for about 50 minutes to an hour, until cake is a deep brown, and not too squishy when you poke it (not scientific I know, but it’s the best litmus test Oma could give me).
Cool for about 15 minutes in the pan and turn out onto a cooling rack until completely cool. Eat immediately, or cover very tightly until you’re ready. Try to eat it within 1-2 days, though if you cover it tightly it will keep a little longer. It’s a really good excuse to have people for tea.
Enjoy the heck out of this cake – eat it for breakfast, etc. You worked hard for this, so make it worth it!