Apples and Onions
October 22, 2010 4:51 PM   Subscribe

I am making Dutch pancakes for a brunch. (They're an eggy thing that puffs up in the oven, kind of like a fritatta, kind of like a pancake, kind of like Yorkshire pudding.) My question is about the topping.

My current idea is apples, onions, and bacon. Does anyone know exactly the ratios and cooking time?

It seems to be a 1:1 for apples and onion, sauteeing the onion first in bacon fat, then adding apples and cooking for 15 minutes on the stove top. Wouldn't this make the apples mushy? How can I achieve a sweet and savory mixture with all the textures intact? Also, what kind of apple--I like Fuji and Gala for munching, but maybe something tarter for this? I'd also like to offer the kids just apples for a topping, maybe caramelized, so a good apple recommendation for that would be nice too, if you have one.

I've seen this recipe from this question. Has anyone tried it?
posted by pipti to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
My husband makes these for breakfast a few times a week! He suggests slicing the apples thinly and putting them on the pancake as its going into the oven to avoid mushiness.

The other option would be serving like a crepe, cutting the pancake into strips and filling with the bacon, apples, and onion.
posted by kpht at 5:00 PM on October 22, 2010

I'd recommend using granny smiths, you won't get the mushiness and the tartness will help with the flavor balance. As for technique, render the bacon, reserve it and crumble on the side. Take the apples, I'd do a small dice on them, and saute with the onions in the reserved fat (or some of it). To make it more of a topping, you could add a little barenjager and brown sugar with a touch of apple cider vinegar and reduce. I wouldn't saute for too long, or else they will get mushy, just enough to cook them through. When you are done, add the bacon back in. You will get the sweet and salty as well as the texture from the bacon you are looking for.
posted by TheBones at 5:05 PM on October 22, 2010

I'm a big fan of making these. I usually put the topping in the baking dish and then pour the batter over it, and invert it onto a plate when it's done.

Failing that, they are also amazing glazed with lemon juice and powdered sugar.
posted by DoktorFaustus at 5:16 PM on October 22, 2010

Ooo, that's also known as a dutch baby! Great stuff. Love mine with lemon and powdered confectioner's sugar. Thin slices of granny smith apples would be great too.
posted by wkearney99 at 5:47 PM on October 22, 2010

Granny Smith and Honeycrisp are my favorite baking apples. If I'm adding sugar, I'll use Granny Smith. They're nice and tart and hold their shape when baked. If I just want naked apple flavor, I go with Honeycrisp. Those are sweeter than Granny Smith but not overly so, and they also don't get mushy when baked.
posted by cooker girl at 5:59 PM on October 22, 2010

Deborah Madison has a similar recipe in "Local Flavors" for what she terms, scientifically, a "puff." Her primary recommendation is a pear-cardomom sauce, which I've found to be delicious atop the puff-cakes.
posted by alexandermatheson at 6:19 PM on October 22, 2010

I usually put the topping in the baking dish and then pour the batter over it, and invert it onto a plate when it's done.

I do this often too. Specifically, heat up your cast iron (or some other) pan, add plenty of butter, slices of apple, a little brown sugar and cinnamon, and cook a few minutes on fairly high heat, flipping the apples over once (you want to brown the apples a little). Pour your batter on top, toss the pan in the oven and bake. Invert onto a plate to serve or cut slices directly in the pan (a little icing sugar sprinkled on top through a sieve makes a nice presentation). You could add onions and even bacon to the pan, I suppose, but I'd just serve rashers of bacon on the side.

There are many, many varieties of apples, but no reason to go looking for any specific variety. I'd recommend whatever you can get fresh and local that is relatively crisp (stay away from Macs, Spartans, Red Delicious and the like, which tend to go a bit mealy when cooked). If it has a nice crunchy texture, it will serve you well. Ambrosia would be my choice, but that's just what I have in the basement.
posted by ssg at 9:57 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here's an Apple Oven Cake recipe from Sunset magazine. Based on my experience with this recipe, I think you'd cook the ingredients in the cast iron pan, then pour the batter over the top and bake.

As for proportions, you'd only have to worry about cooking out the moisture from the onions enough. I'd probably do one or two slices of bacon and 1/4 cup sliced onions. If you want the apples to retain some crunch, you'd just cook them for less than the 15 minutes you mention (which really seems like a long time), or cut them a little thicker. I'd probably use 1/2 or a whole apple. I think this would turn out best when you use a baking apple (the honeycrisp suggestion would probably work really well) that is cut thinly and cooked for 5 minutes on medium heat, though. Fuji apples worked for me, but they do get soft and that maybe works better with the sweeter dutch pancakes.
posted by belau at 6:40 AM on October 23, 2010

Thanks all--I ended up skipping the onions, using granny smiths, and offering goat cheese and thyme if people wanted savory. The kid wanted just sugar. It was great, though not a practical choice for 7 people and only one pan. I was starving by the time I ate.
posted by pipti at 4:36 PM on October 26, 2010

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