Toffee and apple, synonymous with autumn, golds and reds in all their glory. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be enjoyed as a winter warmer too. There used to be a greengrocer close to my home that sold teeth shattering toffee apples as soon as the first leaves fell from the trees. Although the coating was frightfully hard, it was worth nibbling through the caramel to get to the crisp, fresh apple encased within. This recipe exemplifies the beauty of these two flavours, but without the risk of an expensive visit to the dentist.
A Dutch Baby is a large, puffed up pancake that differs from a Yorkshire pudding in that it uses more eggs and is cooked in butter rather than dripping. The sweet, lightly spiced batter envelopes the chopped apple, allowing it to soften and mellow whilst supported by the fluffy pillow of pancake. If you’re hankering after a savoury version, omit the cinnamon, lemon, and apples, and fill the cooked pancake with bacon, spinach, and a freshly poached egg. The perfect weekend recipe.
75g plain flour
150ml whole milk
2tbsp caster sugar
Zest of one lemon
2 eating apples, cored and chopped into segments
115g granulated sugar
65ml double cream
Pinch of salt
Vanilla ice cream, to serve
1. Sift together the flour, sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs and milk, whisking to create a smooth, runny batter. Leave to rest for 20 minutes whilst you chop the apples into segments.
2. Preheat your oven on its highest setting (it needs to be incredibly hot for the pancake to puff up). Warm an iron skillet or other oven safe pan on the hob. Add the butter and heat until it’s frothy and bubbling.
3. Add the batter to the pan and scatter the sliced apple around the centre. Reduce the oven temperature to 220C/200C(fan)/gas mark 7 and bake for 15 minutes. You must resist the urge to open the oven door during the bake or else you won’t get the fluffy, pillowy texture that we’re after.
4. Whilst the pancake is in the oven, make the caramel sauce by combing the sugar and water in a saucepan set over a medium heat. Rather than stirring, swirl the saucepan around until the sugar and water have turned a light amber colour. Carefully add the butter and whisk until fully melted. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cream and sea salt before setting aside to cool.
5. When the 15 minutes are up, remove the pancake from the oven and leave it for 30 seconds to deflate. Drizzle with fresh caramel sauce and serve with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.