Fortunately, there's a cheater's version which doesn't involve any advanced spatula or timing skills. The trick is to let your oven do the work instead of the stovetop. Truth be told, these are more like giant popovers than pancakes, but since they use all the same ingredients and taste good with maple syrup poured over them, I see no reason not to cast these beauties as pancakes... of a sort.
This recipe was poached from DJ Trouble and first appeared in WFMU's To Serve Man cookbook, from a couple of years ago. Her version called for pears, but they can easily be switched out for apples (as seen here.) To that end, here's what you need:
3/4 cups milk
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 ripe pear or apple, thinly sliced, skin on or off as per your preference
2 tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp butter
- Put a 12 inch cast iron skillet in a cold oven, and dial up 450 degrees. Let skillet and oven heat up for 15 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, whisk up the eggs, milk, flour, extract, and salt. In another bowl, toss the fruit with the sugar and cinnamon until evenly coated.
- Using a cloth pothandle (hot! hot!), remove the skillet from the oven. Add the butter and swirl it around until melted and the entire bottom is coated.
- Add the fruit to the skillet and spread it out in an even layer. Admire the wondrous scent of apples and sugar landing on hot, buttered iron.
- Pour the batter on top, and return skillet to the hot oven. Let cook for 25-30 minutes, or until top has puffed up and is golden brown. Cut into pizza-shaped slices, and serve with syrup. Mmmm!