german apple pancake 2Okay, anyone who has tackled the Herculean task of preparing Thanksgiving supper for the hungry hordes, knows it takes every second of time and your last ounce of energy to get that meal to the table with as few culinary catastrophes as possible. Everything from Wednesday morning (for those lucky enough to get that day off), right up until the last dish is pulled from the oven Thursday afternoon, has to focus on turning out the feasting fare. Just keeping counters and sinks clear enough to tackle the next dish on your list is a challenging, time-consuming effort. So who has time to even think of preparing a festive breakfast too?

Truth is, when your sleepy, eye-rubbing family stumbles into the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning and innocently asks what’s for breakfast, you have one of two choices. You can come unhinged and throw the closest non-lethal cooking implement at them, knowing full well that anyone who has cooked a Thanksgiving meal would never convict you in a court of law. Or, with just a little pre-planning, you can smile and gesture to the now-fragrant oven and coo that you’ve got a super-special breakfast coming out of the oven just for them.

In your best interests, the latter option may be your best bet; having a table-clearing, dish-washing crew at the end of the grand meal, so you can collapse in the corner with a cocktail, may depend on this decision. But what you ask could be put together fast and easy enough not to drain one more ounce of your energy? The answer is a stupendous Apple Pancake; one where you pull the ingredients together days in advance, then spend a mere 20 minutes assembling it the morning of.

I love how fast this recipe can come together. I sauté the apples a day or two ahead, mix together dry ingredients to set aside, and refrigerate wet ingredients in a jar. The day of, I preheat the oven, heat my skillet on the stove and add the already cooked apples. While they are reheating, I blend the wet and dry ingredients in the blender. When the apples are bubbly, I pour the batter over the top, pop it in the oven, and voila, in 15 minutes I have a puffy, golden apple pancake.

Be sure to let it cool for 15 minutes before inverting onto a serving platter. Though adding just a dusting of powdered sugar is traditional, I admit to having gilded this lily with a small dollop of sour cream on each serving. Now that festive breakfast that will guarantee a troupe of dish clearers/washers at your disposal come the end of the day. Of course, no need to relegate it just to Thanksgiving; make this your go-to recipe any morning you want a super-special start to the day!

1 10-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably cast-iron)

4 Tbs unsalted butter
4 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/3 cup sugar (use light brown sugar if you prefer a more caramel-like flavor)
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp finely grated lemon or orange zest (optional)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger

3 extra large eggs (or 3 large eggs plus 1 egg white)
3/4 cup buttermilk (or 3/4 whole milk plus 2 tsp cider vinegar)
1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbs butter (for reheating apples)
powdered sugar for dusting

1. Make Ahead: Melt the butter and toss in the apples, coating thoroughly with the butter. Sprinkle in the sugar, lemon juice, zest, cinnamon, ginger and allspice, stirring frequently. Cook over medium heat until apples are soft and beginning to caramelize, about 8 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.

2. Make Ahead: Combine eggs, buttermilk and vanilla in a glass jar. Seal and refrigerate. In a separate container, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Set aside.

3. Morning of: Preheat oven to 500-degrees. Heat the ovenproof skillet on the stove and add the last tablespoon of butter. When melted, add the cold apples and heat until bubbly.

4. Once apples are bubbly, use a blender to process the wet and dry ingredients until silky smooth. Pour over the hot apples and place into the oven. Immediately lower oven to 450-degrees.

5. Bake until the pancake is puffy and lightly set in center; it should be golden around the edges, which will take 15-16 minutes.

6. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes, during which time the pancake will deflate. Carefully (use oven mitts) invert the pan on a serving platter and dust with confectioner sugar. Not feeling your culinary bravado that morning? Simply dust the top with powdered sugar and serve the “pancake” with a spoon right out of the pan. Either way – it’s delicious!

Candy LesherCandy Lesher, Chef and Culinary Wellness Coach, Training and coaching clients to achieve a healthy culinary lifestyle based on their medical directives and personal tastes, through custom-designed menus and recipes. You can reach Candy at, or call her at 480-266-0701.