I first developed this recipe in February 2014, making it twice at the time, tweaking an ingredient here and method there. I even took a whole range of photographs of pancakes on a pretty china plate perched on the snow-covered porch railing. I’m not sure why these pancakes didn’t make it to the blog then, but I do know I’ve thought of them from time to time over the intervening years.
Lately, I’ve had apples on my mind, especially since I’ve been working on an apple recipe roundup this past week. I was going to post that roundup today, but it just didn’t feel complete without this pancake recipe in it. So, I whipped up a batch for lunch, confirming that the recipe works as well as I remembered, and hastily snapped some pictures before sitting down to eat.
The sour cream makes the pancakes rich — buttery even — to the point that I’d eaten a few bites before realizing I’d forgotten to put butter on them. No need; I ate them without. A drizzle of maple syrup, though … that’s something I never forget. The cornmeal adds a pleasing hit of crunch, but it’s the sticky, soft apples, bronzed to a luscious caramel, that are the real stars here. Finding a bite of one is like a little gift.
Caramelized Apple Sour Cream Pancakes
© Marlene Cornelis/Urban Cottage Life 2016
Pancakes filled with soft and sticky caramelized apple slices are a special way to enjoy fall’s bounty on a cool November day. Or, any day of the year, really!
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp cornmeal
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 medium apple (McIntosh, Empire, etc.)
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
Start by making the pancake batter. Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. In a larger bowl, mix together the egg, sour cream, milk, oil and syrup. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well with a whisk (stir, but don’t whip it, to avoid incorporating air). The batter doesn’t need to be completely smooth.
Set the batter aside while you heat the griddle and prepare the caramelized apples.
Sprinkle the sugar evenly in a small skillet (I used a non-stick one) and set it on medium high heat. While it goes to work and the sugar starts to melt, peel and core the apple and cut it into slices about 1/4-inch thick. When the sugar has melted and darkened and is dancing around the edges of that burnt-sugar aroma, add the apples to the pan as evenly as you can. Once they’ve browned on the first side, turn them, add the pinch of salt and maple syrup, and continue to cook them until the syrup has cooked down. The apples will be caramelized and sticky, and fairly soft. Let them cool for a couple of minutes, then stir them into the batter.
Lightly oil the griddle, then use a large ice cream scoop or spoon to ladle on the batter. When air bubbles have dimpled top of the pancakes more or less evenly, gingerly flip them over. Remove to a warm plate when cooked through. Remember, the first ones are never the best, but they make a fine cook’s treat!