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I am the Museum Director at the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center, and absolutely love German food! This recipe for apple pancakes is simple, vegetarian, and uses basic ingredients, so lots of people are sure to enjoy it.

 

Who taught you this recipe/how did you learn it?

My mom and Oma (grandma) made this for me when I was growing up. I myself have never been a pancake-maker, but I had a craving for it on a cold weekend this past winter. I searched “Apfelpfannkuchen” on YouTube and watched the one that looked best and was by a German person. I didn’t have “vanilla sugar” and it took me a few minutes to convert from grams to ounces, but it turned out fine. In fact, I started making it every few weeks, with a slight adaptation or twist every time. For the first batch, I used thinly sliced apples. The next time, I grated the apples on a cheese grater and just mixed it into the batter. The two methods are equally delicious!

 

When do you normally eat this dish? Is it for a holiday or celebration?

You can eat Apfelpfannkuchen any time of year. Pancakes are not just a breakfast food in Germany, in fact, I remember eating them in the afternoon as a sort of sweet lunch. They are more chewy and thin than American pancakes.

 

What culture/country is this recipe from?

This recipe is German, though they are similar to French crepes. In my experience, the Germans eat them flat rather than folded or rolled.

 

Why is it important to you?

This recipe makes me think of fun afternoons having pancakes made by my Oma, then playing board games with my siblings and grandparents. I love German desserts that use fresh delicious fruit and amplify the flavors with lots of butter!

 

Apfelpfannkuchen Recipe

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt (in German, a pinch is called Messerspitze, a “knife point”)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 apples, peeled and grated or sliced very thin
  • 4 tbsp butter (for the pan and topping)
  • Cinnamon (optional)
  1. Mix the sugar and flour, then add the milk and eggs. Adjust the amount of milk/flour so you get a runny batter––these pancakes should be thinner than American pancakes. Let sit for 10-20 minutes.
  2. If you grated the apple, squeeze out the moisture.
  3. Heat a pan on medium-low and add butter to coat.
  4. Ladle a pancake-sized amount of batter into the pan, then add a generous amount of apples in an event layer. If using slices, gently push them down so the batter spills up on the top. This seals the slices in so they don’t flop out when flipped.
  5. Flip the pancake when the underside looks golden brown and tasty. Finish the other side.
  6. Serve with butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Also delicious with maple syrup!
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