When I was just a boy I remember my uncle taking me to Walker Bros. The Original Pancake House in Chicago. It was a restaurant he went to growing up and wanted to make sure my brother and I got to experience it as well. They don’t take reservations, and even though the place is not tiny, there is ALWAYS a long line of people waiting to get in the door.
Why was the line so long? What could be worth waiting this long for? Well, once we got in and ordered, I quickly found out why.. the famous APPLE PANCAKE (so famous they sell them frozen online). It’s a giant pancake filled with caramelized apples that I swear tasted even better with each bite you take. Plus when you’re just a kid – it’s almost as big as you are, which made it even better!
Well, I don’t know about you, but we’ve been cooped up indoors lately and haven’t been to Chicago in so long, I’m long overdue for getting my fix of this pancake of perfection. Seeing as today is my 3rd wedding anniversary, I wanted to do a little something special for breakfast. Then as if it were a SIGN FROM ABOVE… last night we were watching Mean Girls on TV and in the final scenes when they’re announcing Spring Fling Queen, they mentioned the winner received 2 gift certificates to Walker Bros. Pancakes. [FUN FACT: Mean Girls was written by Tina Fey, who’s a Chicago native so she’s a big fan too!]
But that’s all I needed to hear… that was the inspiration I was looking for! Now I’m happy to report back that I found a recipe online to create this masterpiece at home and it was a SUCCESS… not to mention surprisingly easy overall.
The key is using Granny Smith apples, so you get tart, crisp apple taste combined with butter and cinnamon sugar (aka, things that make everything taste better). You prepare it in stages to ensure the sugar caramelizes to get sticky & sweet, then bake it to perfection in a cast iron skillet so crisps perfectly.
While sadly, I didn’t make a video for this one, I had to share considering how delicious it turned out. Hope you all enjoy as well!
Apple Pancake Recipe
- 2-3 Granny Smith apples
- 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup whole or 2% milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs
- Powdered or cinnamon sugar, to serve
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Peel, core, and cut apples to small bite-size pieces. I used a Thin Apple Slicer & Corer then cut them into thirds. In total you should have about 3 cups of chopped apples.
- In a small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of sugar with the cinnamon and ginger (if desired, I didn’t use) and set aside.
- Cut the butter into chunks and place them in a deep cast iron skillet. Put the skillet in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes until the butter is melted.
- Take the skillet out of the oven and sprinkle the 1/3 cup brown sugar over the melted butter then carefully spread the apples on top of the brown sugar and then the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the apples. Once complete, put the skillet back in the oven to caramelize the apples and sugar.
- While that’s in the oven, in a medium bowl whisk the flour with the remaining tablespoon of sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Gradually add the milk (I used non-fat since that’s what I had), whisking constantly with a large wire whisk to beat out any lumps. When the flour is smoothly incorporated into the milk, add in the vanilla and the eggs, one by one. Beat by hand for 2 minutes, or until foamy. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes. By now the sugar should be bubbling around the apples.
- Take the skillet out of the oven and pour the batter over the apples, then place back in the oven to ake for about 20 minutes, or until center is set and sides are lightly browned. The pancake will puff up dramatically but fall after a few minutes after you take it out of the oven.
- Once it’s done, I suggest carefully flipping the pancake out of the skillet onto a large cutting board to serve. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar or more cinnamon sugar if desired (mostly for looks), then cut and enjoy!
Recipe by The Kitchn