I think breakfast is that meal that people tend to get stuck in a rut with the most. Maybe it’s because we are often in a hurry to get where we need to be in the morning, or perhaps our brains just aren’t ready to deal with the process of making something more complicated than toast or cereal with milk. For this reason– and because I can’t seem to ever get enough of it– I make my favorite daily granola ahead of time, in fairly large batches. I love that stuff so much I actually dream of it occasionally, but nonetheless a change is good now and then.
Personally, I have fallen victim to the dangers of baking pre-caffein more than once (these include, but are not limited to; burning things, forgetting the baking soda or other crucial ingredients, spilling liquids like oil or soymilk all over the counter and– my favorite: accidentally following two recipes on opposite pages of a cookbook, creating a sort of ridiculous concoction that has little hope of becoming anything recognizable or even edible). For those of you who need a little time to wake up and/or consume coffee or tea before assembling breakfast, you may want to wait for a leisurely morning to try this one, but really its not all that complicated.
Baked Apple Pancake – Adapted from the 2004 Gourmet Cookbook
Lately it seems like I have been using a generous amount of eggs in my cooking and baking. This is in part due to the fact that I have been able to get fresh eggs from a couple of local farms (and one friend of a friend who keeps chickens in her backyard in Vermont). Due to intimate knowledge of factory farming I have to just do a quick soapbox plug here for free-range, local and if and when possible eggs from chickens you “know”. They are more humanely obtained and taste better too. Okay onto the recipe:
2 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2-3 Tbs packed light brown sugar (recipe called for 3, I used 2 and thought it was plenty sweet)
3-4 Tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3 Tbs unsalted butter or margarine – divided
3/4 cup unsweetened/sweetened soy milk or regular whole milk
3 large eggs
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour (you can use all-purpose or a combination)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tap vanilla extract
Put a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 F.
Toss apples with lemon juice, brown sugar, 2-3 Tbs granulated sugar (depending on how much you are using in total), cinnamon, and cloves in a bowl.
Heat 1 1/2 Tbs of butter/margarine in a 10-inch oven-proof skillet (I use a cast iron one) over moderate heat, until foam subsides. Add apples and cook, stirring occasionally until just tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer apples and any accumulated liquid to a wide bowl to cool.
Wipe skillet clean and heat in oven for 5 minutes. Combine, milk, eggs, flour, remaining Tbs granulated sugar, and vanilla in a blender and blend until smooth (I did this a bowl with a whisk and made sure to sift in my flour through a sieve to avoid large lumps- it worked well).
Remove skillet from oven and melt remaining 1 1/2 Tbs butter/margarine over moderately high heat, then pour batter into skillet. Spoon apple mixture evenly over the top.
Bake pancake until puffed and golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar if desired.