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American Classics by Editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Tradition dictates that this supersized pancake should be cooked in a cast-iron skillet, but we found that an oven-safe, nonstick skillet worked significantly better. If you want to use cast-iron, reduce the heat to medium-high after five minutes when cooking the apples; otherwise they may burn in the oven because the cast iron retains so much heat. And be careful removing the pancake from a cast-iron skillet; it may stick unless your pan is very well seasoned. We chose Cranny Smith apples for their tartness and firm texture and their availability, but if you have access to similar, more interesting varieties, such as Rhode Island Greening or Mutsus, by all means try them.
2 large eggs
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 medium Granny Smith apples (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
Maple syrup, warmed
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Combine the eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, salt, and granulated sugar in the workbowl of a food processor or a blender jar and process until well combined, about 15 seconds. Add the flour and process until thoroughly mixed and free of lumps, about 30 seconds; set the batter aside.
2. Add the butter to a 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high heat until the butter foams. Add the apples and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over them. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples begin to turn light brown, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the apples are golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Remove the pan from the heat. Quickly pour the batter into the pan and place the pan in the oven. Reduce the heat to 425 degrees and cook until browned and puffed, 16 to 17 minutes. With a rubber spatula, slide the pancake out of the skillet onto a serving platter, dust it with confectioners' sugar, and serve immediately, accompanied by warmed maple syrup.
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