An Apple a Day
This time of year I can’t resist buying loads of apples every time I stop at a farm stand, no matter how many we still have at home. A good crisp apple might be my favorite fruit, and they’re super-healthy — full of antioxidants and other good stuff. So when Jennie asked me to blog-sit, I knew I’d have to include at least one apple recipe for the fall. If you’re anything like me, your crisper drawer is getting more and more full of apples, no matter how fast you think you’re working your way through them.
These days, I leave most of my cooking for the weekends. But while I eat my fair share of grilled-cheese-and-tomato-soup dinners and dry-cereal-in-a-baggie breakfasts during the week, nothing beats my mom’s oatmeal pancakes with applesauce on the weekends. They’re worthy of breakfast for company, and still simple and homey enough to make for yourself any Sunday morning. I’ve even been known to make them for dinner.
If you don’t already have your own personal stock of “new harvest” apples in your refrigerator, get out there and track down a local orchard. If you can’t find one, most supermarkets also stock local apples in season, and they’re often a lot cheaper (not to mention tastier) than those waxy trucked-in numbers you’ll find year-round. If you buy a 5-pound sack at a low price, this applesauce is a great way to use them up.
Oatmeal Pancakes with Applesauce
(Makes 12-15 pancakes, about 3″ in size)
First, make the applesauce. You can do this a day or two in advance, or even longer if you freeze the sauce (just pull it out of the freezer the night before and defrost in the fridge or microwave). This is more of a “method” than a recipe because none of the measurements are precise; the sugar, spice and cooking time will vary based on the size and firmness of your apples – and, of course, how much you make.
Start by peeling and slicing half a dozen (or more) apples. I used assorted local apples, mostly Jonamac, I think, but there was at least one Golden Delicious.
Add to a saucepan with 1/4 to 1/2 cup water or apple juice, and cinnamon and sugar to taste. For six apples, start with 2 T. sugar and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, or just add a cinnamon stick.
Cover and cook apples on medium-low heat until soft. This can take as little as 15 minutes and as long as half an hour, depending on how firm your apples are (for example, macintosh go fast; red delicious and cortland take longer), but you can cook various kinds of apples together; just cook until the firmest ones are soft.
As the sauce develops, add more sugar and/or cinnamon based on your taste. Once the apples are cooked, remove cinnamon stick. You can leave the sauce chunky or give it a whiz with your stick blender (or use a conventional blender). If you have a food mill, you can cook the apples with the skins on, process in the food mill after cooking and your sauce will have a nice rosy pink glow.
Now it’s time to make the pancakes!
2 c. rolled oats or wheat, uncooked
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 T. wheat germ or wheat bran (optional)
1 T. oil
2 tsp. honey (local if you can find it) or molasses
2 c. milk
Heat milk in a saucepan. Add oats and set aside to cool (this takes 20 minutes to half an hour – it just needs to be cool enough not to scramble the egg). Once the oat mixture is cool, measure dry ingredients into the (same) saucepan, add beaten egg, oil and honey and blend thoroughly.
If the batter seems too thin, allow it to stand for a few minutes and it will thicken, or add 1 T. additional flour. The batter will be fairly thick – this is okay. Preheat frying pan or griddle and spray with cooking spray. Pour about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. When pancakes are bubbly on top and dry around the edges, flip and cook another two minutes or so on the other side.
If you’re making these for a crowd, keep the pancakes warm in a 200-degree oven, covered with a towel, until you’ve fried the whole batch. Serve hot with warm applesauce, maple syrup and fresh fruit on the side. The oats make these pancakes hearty, so one batch will feed three to four people.
Unfortunately, my photos of the finished pancakes just didn’t cooperate due to my lack of technical skills. I’ll practice a little more for my next post. In the meantime, you’ll just have to whip up a batch of these pancakes (dinner, perhaps?) and see them for yourself!
Entry filed under: Recipes.