It’s funny how different aspects of cooking bring up such wonderful memories. Whether it’s holding the recipes handed down from beloved family or friends, baking a cake your Mom always made, or the smell of your Grandmother’s hot rolls coming out of the oven. And sometimes it’s a little thing. I never peel an apple that I don’t think of my Dad. He could peel an apple in one long peel and would always take the time to do it for us when we were kids, as a kindness and certainly to amuse us.
My Dad was not a cook. He was born on the ranch and raised by three sets of “parents”- my Grandparents, his Aunt and Uncle and my Great Grandparents. With three women on the ranch, all of them wonderful cooks he certainly had an appreciation for good food.
I do have one memory of him attempting to make breakfast for us. Mom was in the hospital and he decided to fix breakfast for my brother and me. Pancakes were on the menu. Sadly, they were a little too done on the outside and not so much on the inside. My Grandmother showed up the next day and stayed until Mom came home.
This pancake is not your traditional griddle pancake, it is baked in the oven and has a light, airy custard-like texture.
It is a wonderful brunch recipe and one my Mom loved. The presentation is impressive, rising tall in the pan with golden edges and apples peeking through. The prep takes about 10-15 minutes and bakes in less than 30 minutes. Traditionally made with apples, you can also use any fruit you would bake in a pie.
The pancake batter is made with eggs, half-and-half and ricotta cheese, sweetened with a bit of honey and sugar along with a dash of vanilla and cinnamon to pair with the apples.
This pancake puffs much like a soufflé and will fall slightly when you take it out of the oven. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with warm maple syrup.
Apple Puff Pancake
3 tablespoons butter
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 extra large eggs
3 tablespoons honey
½ cup ricotta cheese
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk the half-and-half, vanilla, eggs, honey and ricotta cheese until well blended. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, sugar, baking powder and kosher salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and whisk until well combined; some lumps will remain.
Lightly spray a deep 10” skillet (ovenproof) with a cooking spray, add the butter and melt over medium heat. Toss in the apples, stirring to coat them in the butter and cook for about five minutes.
Pour the egg mixture over the apples, no need to stir.
Place the skillet in the oven and bake at 425 degree for 25 minutes or until puffed and golden. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with warm maple syrup.