Before the recipe, it’s time for some updates. I’m here in London, UK, living, tasting, working, settling in, trying to become a local (impossible, but I’ll try). Every day is an adventure.
The Modern Lunch cookbook is coming along (in the editing and design phase right now); Monday to Friday food writing, editing, and styling is steady; and I’m in the midst of my business year-end. I took a break from the blog during this hectic time, which also included selling and packing a house, but keep receiving texts from my dad, saying he “can’t wait for the first blog post from London!” And maybe you can’t either?
The problem was, we’ve been slow to set up our kitchen, leaving nearly all of our cookware in Canada, and this is a food blog.
Living the minimalist life meant very, very simple cooking–which was actually quite a nice treat after a year of recipe testing for the new book–for the first few weeks. We did really well with breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, still managing to make from-scratch meals every weekday. On weekends, we’ve got in a really lovely routine of going out for brunch, with local favourites being Allpress Espresso and Violet.
My brief time away from recipe development has given me a bit of perspective on what kitchens of most home cooks look like, and I think that will really inform me going forward (I really, really miss my food processor though).
In non-kitchen news, we ran off to Paris for an evening, dining at Les Enfants Perdus shortly after we arrived. It was a classic French meal, including steak tartare, wine, and plenty of dessert (that’s classic French, right?). I will always go for the apple dessert on the menu, and, without fail, I did this time, too. With Christmas markets, lights, decorations, festivals, and mulled wine flowing freely around London right now, it’s hard to remember that it’s still autumn, and therefore, still apple season!
The following morning in Paris, we grabbed a filter coffee at Ten Belles before a near-flood of rain, then walked to La Fontaine de Belleville for more coffee (and to watch the rain); an allongé this time, which is just like an Americano (espresso with additional hot water). I enjoyed a soft-boiled egg with buttered toast points and muesli with fruit.
After breakfast, it was a quick train ride back to London, where we spent some time being “normal,” getting ready for the workweek while eating grilled cheese sandwiches and carrots with hummus and drinking milky tea. You know, adulting.
No matter where I am, on Sundays, I enjoy tinkering in the kitchen and cooking a few staples for the week, which includes turning out a make-ahead breakfast, preferably one that can double as a snack. I came up this, a clafoutis-meets-Dutch baby baked pancake recipe. It keeps well for days, doesn’t crumble in transport, is very snackable, and, if you serve it with sweetened cream or ice cream, can stand in as dessert.
For me, a hot coffee in hand and a slice of this fudgy, apple pie-inspired, damp gingerbread cake-textured pancake with a big dollop of yogurt, makes even the dullest fall morning feel warm and cozy.
Going back to the fact that I’m working on setting up my kitchen, I developed this recipe using weight measurements. For best results, please use a kitchen scale; if you don’t own one, try this measurement converter (I can’t promise perfection, but I’ll update this recipe in the future with my dry measures!).
Spiced Spelt, Apple, and Brown Butter Baked Pancake
Breakfast, dessert, coffee, tea–this baked pancake, with the texture of a Dutch baby pancake recipe crossed with a clafoutis, using wholesome spelt flour, is made for any time of day. The batter is spiced with warming cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and enriched with brown butter. Milk, eggs, and a whisper of flour hold it all together. A dollop of yogurt is my preferred way to enjoy this epic, shareable pancake.
Total Time: 35 minutes
100g salted butter, more for pan
115g dark brown sugar
1 cup milk of choice (I used whole milk), cold
1 large egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
70g unbleached all-purpose flour
50g white spelt flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp grated or ground nutmeg
2 small gala apples, cored and thinly sliced
plain yogurt, for serving (optional)
- Preheat oven to 175ºC/350ºF. If you have a fan or convection oven, you can turn that on now, too. Grease an 8-inch pie plate with a bit of extra butter.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, then continue to cook until light brown and nutty in fragrance, 2 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, followed by milk, then the egg and vanilla.
- To butter mixture, whisk in flours, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt until thoroughly combined.
- Pour half of batter into prepared pie plate, then top with half of the apples, the remaining half of batter, then the remaining half of the apples.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (using a fan or convection oven), until puffed and golden brown, springing back gently in the middle when touched. If you’re not using a fan or convection oven, you may need to bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer.
- Allow to cool for 10 to 20 minutes before slicing. Or, serve room temperature. Both ways are beautiful with cool, tangy yogurt.