I woke up this morning to Autumn sunlight streaming through my bedroom window, and mist rolling over the fields. It was cool and crisp outside when I opened the kitchen door, and we had to sweep fallen leaves off of the patio table to make space for the basket when it was time to hang up the washing. Today is one of my work from home days, so to kick the day off right I decided to make Autumn in a bowl: a single serving cinnamon dutch baby pancake, topped off with quick, pan caramalised new season British Worcester apples and a spoonful of thick, rich crème fraîche, which melts a little into cream when it hits the warm pancake.
It's funny, growing up in Kent and everything, that the first time I really thought about British apples having a 'season' was when I was living in London. I emerged from the tube one morning at London Bridge in order to do my weekly grocery shop at Borough Market, and they handed me a free apple to celebrate the season. I'm not a big apple eater when it comes to the fruit bowl, but when it comes to cooking, they are one of the ingredients I love the most about Autumn. Crisp, slightly tart cooking apples are delicious matchsticked in salads or shredded into slaws, and the sweet, cooking variety are beautiful slow roasted in a baking tray with a couple of sausages and red onions, or lightly caramalised with a bit of butter and sugar for dessert.
While we really don't need apples in the house (the fruit bowl is full of crunchy, Kent grown varieties like Gala and Early Windsor, and we've got a store of cooking apples from the trees here on the farm), to help kick off the season Love British Apples sent me a box of the most beautiful, fragrant Worcester and Early Windsor apples. Seriously, I know smelling apples is not a thing like smelling a punnet of fresh strawberries, or even a freshly picked bowl of tomatoes, but next time you have a crisp, new season apple (that you've not bought at a supermarket) in your hands, take a good sniff of the skin. Beautiful, right?
Usually dutch baby pancakes are made in a frying pan. However, due to a combination of having to throw the pan I usually make mine in away as the coating had gone in the middle and everything was sticking and burning, and my wish to make a single serving pancake (meet your new favourite brunch or dessert option: a scoop of vanilla ice cream would be beautiful on top in the evenings), I made this in a small metal baking dish. I have a couple of Falcon Enamel plates and dishes of different sizes at home, and once of their small sauce dishes is perfect here. The metal heats up fantastically as if it were a frying pan in the oven so you can get the butter really hot before you pour in the batter ready for baking.
If you want to scale this up for more than one person, you can bake it in a big frying pan or in a big, metal baking dish (carry it to the table as soon as it is out of the oven, while it is still puffy; my pancake sank a little the moment I stepped outside with it), but I'd recommend making several little, single serving pancakes, because the really are the perfect size. Oh, and you can really taste the butter in this recipe, so make sure you use a really good quality unsalted butter along with your beautiful, British apples.
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 1/2 tbsp Soft Light Brown Sugar
- 1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tbsp Plain Flour
- Fine Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 40ml Whole Milk
- 1 Small British Dessert Apple, peeled, cored and sliced
- Large Knob Butter
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (390 Fahrenheit), with an oven-proof metal baking dish in the oven (alternatively, you can use the frying pan baking method for a dutch baby which you can find here). Whisk together the egg and 1/2 tsp Soft Light Brown Sugar until all of the sugar has dissolved into the egg. Whisk in the cinnamon, flour and a pinch of salt until the batter is smooth, then whisk in the vanilla and the milk.
Leave the batter to stand while you heat half of the butter in a small frying pan until frothy. Add the apple slices and the rest of the sugar, and cook stirring occasionally until the apples are soft and golden. Remove the baking dish from the oven, and add the rest of the butter, swishing it around the dish until the butter is melted and it coats the sides. Pour in the batter, and spoon over the apples leaving any excess butter in the pan. Bake the pancake for 10 minutes, and serve immediately with crème fraîche and vanilla ice cream.
Now we're into Autumnal comfort foods for colder, crisper days (bonus points for apples, sweet potatoes and cinnamon, taking off points for pumpkin spice), why not try my Leftover Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding, my Simple & Delicious Bolognese Sauce, or my Sausage and Onion Roast with Mustard Sauce.