Sometimes when I try something new, I scratch my head and wonder, “Where did that come from?” One never knows where inspiration lies. Such is the case with my recipe for Smoky-Maple Apple Dutch Baby. Far in the reaches of my subconsciousness came an idea about getting apple slices infused with a light smoky flavor. I am still pinching myself and asking, “Did I really make this?” Yes, I did. I can’t deny it.
During the month of October, I wanted to feature apples in a new recipe. Over a couple of weeks, I tested different flavors to find a combination highlighting apples in a new way. It occurred to me, sweet, caramelized and smoky accents are wonderful flavors with crispy apples. So, instead of using butter and brown sugar, I sautéed apple slices in rendered bacon fat and maple syrup to develop the smoky-sweet flavor I was looking for. To my delighted surprise, it worked.
I did whaat? I sautéed apples in bacon fat. Ever so clearly, I can hear in my mind two opposing reactions to my confession. One, “OH man, that is so good.” The other being, “Nooo. You did what? Bacon fat? Really?.” Admittedly, I am split on both sides of the fence. However, I am moving forward and not looking back. Unanimously, my quest for flavor overruled all other concerns. It is funny because I never cook like this. Don’t get me wrong I love bacon, but bacon fat is something I freeze then throw away, not cook with. Cooking with bacon fat was a no-no in my childhood home and a lesson I learned early in life. Regardless, using the rendered bacon fat, instead of butter, added the natural smoky accent I wanted. No apologies.
Call this a rebellion from my upbringing, but these apple slices cooked in bacon fat and maple syrup are addictive. The smoky-maple flavors are subtle, but work well against the light-custard foundation of the Dutch Baby Pancake. It is not too sweet or too rich, which sometimes occurs when using brown sugar and butter. A light sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg adds a little warm spice. Fresh rosemary and lemon juice brighten all the flavors and bring them together. Since a light hand is used for seasoning the Apple Dutch Baby, all the flavor accents behave and work harmoniously together. The apple is the star, with the pancake and everything else the supporting actors.
More Breakfast Recipes:
This recipe is part of a collaborative apple recipe project with other food bloggers on social media. The tag, #aisforalltheapples, is going live on October 25, 2017, and you’ll find over 70 photos featuring the best apple recipes on Instagram and other social media platforms. Additionally, you can visit their websites using a direct link to each apple recipe. Please note, at the time of my publication, some of the links below will direct you to a 404 page. Please, don’t get alarmed. All the posts publishing on or by October 25th, but not at the same time. The 404 page will redirect you to the home page and you can search for the recipe. I will update my post as everything gets published. Thank you for your patience.
Hope you enjoy #aisforalltheapples, and my Smoky-Maple Apple Dutch Baby.
Smoky Maple Apple Dutch Baby Pancake
For the Smoky-Maple Apples
- 1 medium crispy apple like Honey Crisp or Yellow Delicious
- 2 TB (26 g) bacon fat*, or butter (31 g)
- 2 TB (38 g) real maple syrup
- Freshly grated nutmeg
For the Smoky-Maple Apple Dutch Baby
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) milk
- 1 tsp vanilla or 1 TB Apple Brandy (Calvados)
- 1 TB (13 g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (74 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 2 TB (31 g) butter
- Smoky-Maple Apple Slices
- 1 tsp or less minced fresh rosemary plus more for garnish
- Optional- 1 slice bacon cooked and crumbled
- Fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Powdered sugar for garnish
Pre-heat the oven to 425°F (218 °C)
Prepare the apples
Peel and core the apple and slice into rounds, 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick.
Heat a large 10-inch (25 cm) skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Once hot, add the bacon fat and maple syrup. Stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to combine. Arrange the sliced apples in a single layer around the skillet. (You will need to cook the apple slices in a couple of batches.) Grate nutmeg over each slice of apple. Cook undisturbed for about 2 minutes. Turn the apple slices over, grate more nutmeg and cook until the apples are softened, but still firm and hold its shape, 1-2 minutes. Place the cooked apple slices on a plate and continue with the remaining apples. The glazed apple slices could stick together so do not stack them on the plate. You may need more than one plate to hold the smoky-maple apple slices.
Make the Smoky-Maple Apple Dutch Baby Pancake
Clean the skillet and place in the pre-heated oven.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla or Calvados. Add the flour and whisk until completely combined and there are no lumps.
Add the butter to the skillet in the oven.
When the butter is melted and stopped bubbling, remove the skillet from the oven then tilt the pan to make sure the melted butter is evenly coated across the bottom and sides of the skillet. The butter may brown a little but that adds more flavor. You don't want the butter to burn so watch it carefully.
Pour the batter into the center of the pan. Layer as many apple slices around the pancake batter as you like. It is ok to overlap the apple slices here. Sprinkle the minced rosemary over the apple slices. If you are adding crumbled bacon, sprinkle it over the apples now. Return the skillet to the oven.
Bake the Dutch Baby pancake for 20 minutes. Don't open the oven door until at least 15 minutes goes by. You can check the pancake through the lighted window in your oven. The Apple Dutch Baby won't rise and bubble until it gets sufficiently hot. The pancake is done when the sides have risen, and the surface is golden brown.
Remove the Apple Dutch Baby from the oven and lightly garnish with some minced rosemary if needed. Squeeze lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon) all around the Dutch Baby.
Serve immediately for breakfast garnished with a light coating of powdered sugar and bacon on the side. Or, for dessert with ice cream and caramel sauce.
* If you are like me and don't save your rendered bacon fat, cook at least 4-6 slices of bacon in the skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Use the same skillet you plan to use for the Dutch Baby and sautéing the apples. It all depends on your bacon, but you should get plenty of rendered bacon fat to cook the apples with. Or cook enough bacon for your whole family or friends to enjoy with their Apple Dutch Baby and reserve 2 tablespoons of rendered bacon fat for the apples.
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