Sunday, October 2, 2011

Apples to apples

I suffered one of life's disappointments this past week.  One of those that makes you question your confidence and competence.  So what did I do?  Turned to the pots, pans, and a stick of butter for solace (after assuring my mother that I find no comfort at the bottom of a bottle...)

The harvest season is most definitely upon us.  The weather let up by giving us some nice temperatures this weekend, but there's no turning the leaves back to green.  Speaking of, my coworker's apple tree seems to have produced a bumper crop of tiny, tart little apples that she brought to work to share.

So cute and little!!  Maybe 5 cm in diameter, at best.
I had tempted poor Hubs with the idea of an apple pancake yesterday, but wound up feeling too tired and out of sorts to pull it off (instead, we grabbed stuff from 7-Eleven on our walk back from my dentist appointment, and he had his first Winnipeg Slurpee!  A milestone!!)  I felt it would be cruel to not deliver the promised pancake today.  I decided to get a little fancier than usual, though.  Typically I just chop up apples and mix the pieces into typical pancake batter.  Today, I decided to recreate a tasty treat I tried at the famous Pancake House chain... the German apple pancake.

Apples cooking in caramelized spiced sugar and butter.
One big pancake for two, comin' up!  It's an 11" pan, to give you a frame of reference.
Close up goodness- crispy-but-fluffy batter, soft apples, and lots of sugar, spice and all things nice.  I know, I'm terrible.
It's basically a pancake started by cooking apples in butter, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg on the stovetop (how can you go wrong?!), adding a rather eggy, runny batter, and baking in a hot oven.  A bit more prep time than what my usual apple pancakes require, but SO worth it in the end. has become one of my new best friends for inspiration, and they didn't let me down here!  Plus, it gave me an excuse to test-drive my new ovenproof skillet.  And I didn't burn my hands once!  Hurray!

Yes, I use President's Choice 15% real maple syrup table syrup.  Sorry for all you out there who think Canadians drink maple syrup by the litre... but I find the commercial varieties, while delicious, to be too runny (and too expensive) for my liking.  This is the best of both worlds for me.  Don't judge.
The next order of business was to use up some apples that have languished in my crisper for too long to be eaten out of hand.  They were Royal Galas, which my chem teacher once referred to as, "The dessert apple".  How could I interfere with that destiny??  Plus, I had yet to use my fluted tart pan for an actual tart (I've used it for something else, but I'll post that another time).

My other new friend in the online recipe world is  Now, I don't consider myself a beginner when it comes to baking, but there's something reassuring about seeing a recipe with an accompanying how-to video.  Sort of makes the whole process seem idiot-proof.  That was the case for this cream cheese apple tart with a shortbread crust base.  I wanted something to accompany the pumpkin pie ice cream I whipped up at Hubs' behest (recipe pending!)  How often does that happen?  Requesting an ice cream, then making the dessert to match it?

Please excuse my messy stovetop.  It's clean now, I promise!
Overall, I'd say both of these were a success.  I thought Hubs might enjoy the cheesecake-like filling for the tart; turns out I was right.  It was a great dessert to finish of a meal with our dear friend Deb while watching Netflix and drinking more wine than is probably recommended on a "work night".  Oops.

Planning to extend the harvest baking theme to a pumpkin-fest for next weekend (Canadian Thanksgiving, yay!),


  1. Haha, I love that you pointed out your syrup. For some strange reason, I actually prefer the fake stuff. It's nice to know I am not the only one who voluntarily buys it - even it's for different reasons :)