Chicago’s Big Apple


A pancake with history

As an American based travel advisor and tour operator specializing in Greece we spend alot of our time cooking, eating and sharing Greek recipes.  We have alot of passion for Greek food, and we believe that one of the greatest gifts travel brings is a taste of another culture.  So at this time of the year we often share holiday recipes from Greece. Looking for a holiday morning breakfast recipe idea I thought about my own childhood memory of a favorite “special” breakfast. Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, there was but one “special” breakfast outing: Walker Brothers Pancake House.  Their baked apple pancake, allegedly weighing in at 2 lbs, was unmistakable for it’s sight and smell: a mound of bubbling carmelized cinnamon soaked apples perched on a custardy egg pancake. More dessert than breakfast, in my childhood it was always ordered to be shared – and today I consider it a special freshly baked holiday or special occasion dessert.

So while we’ll be sharing our favorite Greek holiday recipes over the coming weeks, we thought we would bring a bit of our own Chicago culture to these pages: Today we present  ”the apple” as it is known! Recipe credit from Steven L. Katz

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup non-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons wheat gluten, optional
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons superfine sugar
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon cornstarch
  1. Beat eggs until foamy with an electric mixer (with the whisk attachment, if you have one) on medium speed; add milk and cream, beating until well blended. Sift flour, gluten, confectioners’ sugar, salt and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to egg mixture, beating on low speed, until well blended, about 2 minutes. Set aside 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oven to 300 degrees. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in an 8-inch non-stick oven-safe skillet over medium heat; add apple slices. Cook, turning occasionally, until apples begin to soften but not brown, about 4 minutes; transfer to a bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, stir together the brown sugar, superfine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sift the cornstarch into the mix; blend thoroughly with a fork. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons of the butter in a small saucepan. Slowly pour butter into the cinnamon-sugar mixture, stirring with a fork until it resembles a streusel like topping; spread the mixture over the bottom of the skillet. Layer apples (without piling up in the middle) over the sugar mixture to cover the bottom of the skillet.
  4. Pour the batter over the apples. Place skillet in oven; reduce heat to 250 degrees. Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven; cover with foil to keep warm. Increase oven heat to 500 degrees. Lower heat to 450 degrees. Return pancake to oven; bake until pancake puffs and edges begin to brown, 12-15 minutes. Remove pan from oven, carefully invert pan onto a platter or plate.