Whatever way you look at it (Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday, Paczki Tuesday, etc), it’s that time of year again. Already?? Has a year already gone by since I made my first, of now many, batches of pancakes? Looks like it has. So, a quick background on the whole Pancake Tuesday thing: it’s mostly known in the UK, although a few other countries and some of the US still follow the tradition of Shrove Tuesday, which is when the faithful go to confess their sins before the start of Lent. Lent was a time of fasting when eggs, butter, and milk (along with meat and lard) were forbidden. So what was one to do with the last of their ingredients, but make pancakes! Other areas of the globe follow the same principle by making donuts, king cakes, and other baked goods. Whatever country you’re from, or whatever you celebrate, it’s a good excuse to indulge a little. Since most of us are familiar with, and celebrate, Fat Tuesday, I use “Pancake Tuesday” as a good excuse to whip up some pancakes for breakfast before feasting on jambalaya and some hurricanes for dinner
One of the best things about pancakes is that they are SO easy to make. I’m not knocking people who use a mix, but when something is this easy, why wouldn’t you make it from scratch? It’s strange but refreshing to make a batter that doesn’t require me to use my KitchenAid mixer. I feel almost guilty really. I still love you mixer but sometimes time apart is good! This recipe was inspired by an episode of Brunch at Bobby’s that I had on the dvr where he made waffles with sautéed cider apples. I had been contemplating what type of pancake to make for this particular occasion, and it all came together for me after watching that episode. I used granny smith apples in the batter, and in the syrup, because I really like the tartness, but you can use whatever apple you prefer, or whatever you’ve got on hand.
The dog was trying to sneak some when she thought I wasn’t looking.
Apple Pancakes with Apple Cider Syrup
Inspired by Brunch at Bobby’s
Makes approx a dozen pancakes (using a ¼ cup measure for each pancake)
1 ½ c flour
1 ½ t baking powder
½ t baking soda
½ t cinnamon
2 T brown sugar
¾ t salt
1 ½ c buttermilk
2 eggs (beaten)
½ t vanilla
3 T butter melted and cooled
1 cup peeled and grated granny smith apple (about 2)
For the syrup:
1 ½ c apple cider
¼ c maple syrup (the good stuff)
2 T brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
Couple gratings of nutmeg (optional)
1 granny smith apple – peeled and diced
For pancake batter: Sift dry ingredients together (I sift everything even if I don’t have to; it’s some strange compulsive need I have) in a large bowl, or you can whisk them together. Whisk wet ingredients together. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just blended (do not overmix). Stir in apples. To quote Ina, “how easy is that”?? Let batter sit for 15 min to an hour, while you start preparing the syrup.
For syrup: Add apple cider to a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and let cook for about 5 min. Add maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg if using. Let cook for another 10 mintues, stirring occasionally (so nothing burns) or until it starts to thicken. At this point add the diced apples. The natural juices of the apple with thin the syrup out a little. Continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes until the apples are cooked through and the syrup thickens up again (still stirring occasionally). You can really cook the apples longer if you want more of a “sauce”, rather than chucks of apples, it’s really all up to you. Keep warm over low heat or just re-heat quickly before serving.
For pancakes: We can debate what is best to use, non-stick or cast iron, until the cows come home. My non-stick electric skillet holds four pancakes perfectly, and with even heat, so that’s what I use. Whatever you’ve got, heat it to medium heat. I find using a ¼ cup dry measuring cup makes my life easy when pouring the batter, but you do what you are most comfortable with. Pour the pancake batter into pan/skillet and let cook for about 3-4 mintues (or until little bubbles start to form on the top of the pancake), then flip over and cook for approx another 2 minutes on the other side. Keep warm in a 200/225 degree oven while you finish cooking the rest (or eat immediately).
To serve: put a couple (or more) pancakes on a plate and spoon hot cider syrup (with apples) over the top. Eat.
I highly recommend that you make some salty bacon on the side, and dip it in some of the syrup on your plate; it takes it to a whole other level!