Sunday, July 11, 2010

Going Dutch For Breakfast

Good Sunday morning everyone! We're continuing our newly started tradition here on the blog - Sunday breakfast. Today, Maggie had a recipe that she was eager to tackle - one that she truly fell in love while on her trip to Europe a few years back. I'll turn the keyboard over to Maggie and let her tell the story:

The Recipe: Apple Cinnamon Pannekoken

What You'll Need:

2 X Red Apples
3 Tbs. Unsalted Butter
2 Tbs. Brown Sugar
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Tsp. Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Milk

Actually, the story starts before my trip to Europe in 2007.  Since my mom visited the Netherlands in 1969, she picked up on a famous Dutch treat's recipe:  Pannekoken - a very thin variation of of the crepe or the American pancake.  Since I grew up with this treat, mostly as a Saturday lunch option, I am very familiar with the taste, texture, and all around goodness that is the Pannekoken.  When I went over to Europe three years ago, it was one of my goals to have an authentic Dutch pancake.  Within the first 5 days we were there, we visited a little touristy town that made Pannekoken for their visitors, and it wasn't just plain Pannekoken, you could have many different varieties of it.  I wanted the apple cinnamon Pannekoken...and it was heaven!  After 21 years of having my mom's version, I finally tasted what she tried to perfect all these years.  No doubt my mom's version is still pretty tasty, I was just so excited to finally try authentic Dutch Pannekoken.

Maggie's first encounter with authentic pannekoken - she was a little excited 

Flash forward three years to the present day.  I decided that for our Sunday breakfast/brunch blog to try that same recipe.  Granted, I had never made Pannekoken before, so obviously I had to get the recipe from my mom, who has ingrained it in her memory.  Then trying to find a recipe that incorporated cinnamon and apples was a little more tricky.  I found a website that showed how to caramelize apples with cinnamon - granted I didn't want to caramelize them, I just wanted a nice cinnamon flavor over them, so I ended up skipping half of the recipe to achieve my desired end product.

I began by melting my butter in a medium skillet.  Whilst this was going on, I cored and sliced my apples into medium thin slices so they would cook up nice.  After the butter was melted, I added my apples and stirred them around with a wooden spoon so they could be coated with butter.  After said apples were coated, I added my sugar and cinnamon and stirred them with the apples until they were nice and coated with my new combination.  Every 2 minutes or so, I would stir them around so that the bottom apples didn't get too soft and the top ones got to cook a little more.  After 10 minutes, I set them aside and covered with aluminum foil and towels to keep warm.

Now, the apples were pretty darn easy to make...the Pannekoken...well, a test of my patience was being conducted.  I combined the flour, sugar, baking powder, egg, and milk into a thin, runny batter - don't worry if you try this recipe, it's SUPPOSED to look like this.  Then, I melted about two tablespoons of butter in my skillet and poured a 1/3 of cup of my batter.  The butter and the batter congealed together, in some sort of liquidy mess.  I stared at it, thinking "this is not how it's supposed to look."  I dumped out the mixture, cleaned my pan, and started again.

Take 1: It shouldn't be doing this... 

I then remembered that I was supposed to take a stick of butter and rub the inside of the skillet.  I went ahead and did that and put the batter down in the skilling again.  The batter stuck to the pan and had no intention on getting flipped or even coming out.  I now got irritated that this wasn't supposed to look like this.  One problem is that we have stainless steel pans, not nonstick.  This would have been a helpful mention by my mom when she was describing the recipe to me.  Finally, after almost giving up, Tyler suggested that we use our non stick griddle - "granted it won't make the pancakes thin like they should, but it will at least be pancakes."

Let's try that again...

#$%@! It shouldn't be doing THAT either! 

I warmed up the griddle and poured my batter on and finally, after three tries, it looked similar to what Pannekoken I've had over the years.  It wasn't as flat and I'm used to, but it was a griddle and it was going to work.  After making six pancakes, I topped with the apple cinnamon mixture and served.

3rd time is the charm...right? 

There we go! Much better! 

The End Result:

In my mind, I had this wonderful picture of a large, warm Pannekoken, with a good heap of apples and cinnamon.  But what I ended up with a small tortilla-like pancake with apples overflowing out of the ends.  To say I was a little disappointed was an understatement.  I try really hard to recreate what I see, but sometimes, it doesn't end up that way.  I guess they were good, but my disappointment overtook my sense of appetite.  I guess I need to just take the recipe as is and until we get a nonstick skillet, Pannekoken won't be made like it should be.

Thanks Maggie. In my opinion, the pannekoken was just fine. It tasted very similar to a crepe and that is what I was expecting. I, however, have not had authentic Dutch pannekoken, so I have nothing to base Maggie's dish off of. From what I can tell, the Dutch version is simply lower on sugar than American taste buds are used to. If you're not going to use butter and syrup to top the pannekoken - you probably should double the sugar. The second suggestion I would make would be to actually make a caramelized apple sauce. I mentioned that to Maggie yesterday, but she had her heart set on recreating the original dish. I think if she had finished the entire recipe (and caramelized the apples, rather than skipping that step) the resulting SAUCE (rather than apple/cinnamon topping) would have covered quite nicely for the low sugar content of the pannekoken. Other than those suggestions this is a fairly simple - yet tasty dish that is really adaptable to any flavor combination you want to use. Give it a try yourself!

That's all we have for you today. We're back tomorrow with our list of ingredients for this week. Be sure to stop by and see the hints to what we have cooking in the coming week. Until next time,


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