Am I glad I spilled out my frying pan angst to you all yesterday or what? This morning (and by “morning” I think we all understand that it was 1 p.m., right?), when faced with the task of an apple pancake recipe I’ve been wanting to make for eons, the thought using that stainless steel pan was enough to make me skip it.
But since two hundred and thirty two of you (approximating, you see) suggested I get back in with cast iron, I decided to give it another shot. I’ve had a big (and omg, so heavy!) 12-inch cast iron pan for years. It was a whopping $18 and I hear, supposed to be the best investment I’ve ever made. But despite my repeated no-soap, re-reseasoning and tomato-avoiding efforts, the seasoning had never gotten to that “nonstick-like” place. Or so I thought! This morning, I heaved that thing up onto the stove for the pancakes, warned Alex that this might be “bagel run” kind of morning in the end, after all, and got to frying those babies up.
And it worked like a charm. It was great! They were great! Nothing stuck, not even a little. Frankly, the only issue is that the pan is way too big for my tiny burner and the pancakes cooked unevenly but like I care. After this morning, I can finally be one of those cast-iron zealots I was so secretly envious of, never understanding why their cast-iron experiences were so much more enlightened than mine.
Alas, I’ll get more into this in the weeks and months that follow, as I reestablish relations with my cast-iron and test it out with various dishes. In the meanwhile–oh right!–the pancakes… Joan Nathan calls these Apple Latkes, which is really what got my attention in the first place. I am going to have to beg to differ on that, as they have way too much liquid and flour to really be a “latke”, or fritter. They are pancakes with shredded apples, and while the recipe itself is quite easy I think it will need some flavor tweaking to get it to a more interesting place. Nevertheless, I think it would be worth it and have made some suggestions in the head notes.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go apologize to my cast-iron pan for neglecting it for all of these years. We have so much to catch up on!
Adapted from several sources
As I mentioned above, these are mildly flavored as written and benefit from an extra oomph from spice — cinnamon, a little cardamom, ginger, or a mix of pie spices — and lemon or orange zest… well, what do you think? I am eager to see what you all do to step it up a bit.
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk or plain yogurt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 medium apples, peeled and coarsely grated (I used yellow delicious; other baking apples will work)
Additional flavorings (see recipe notes)
Vegetable oil, for frying
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Whisk the eggs with the milk or yogurt and sugar in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine the wet and the dry ingredients and stir in the apples and whatever other flavorings you see fit.
Heat a thin layer of oil in a skillet over low to medium heat. Drop large spoonful of batter into the pan and flatten it out a little (otherwise, you might have trouble getting them to cook in the center) and cook until golden brown underneath. Flip the pancakes and cook them for an additional two or three minutes.
Either dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately, or keep on a tray in a warmed oven until you are ready to serve them.