If you're hosting a breakfast or brunch and you want to deliver something spectacular, try this uber-pancake made with caramelized apples baked under nutmeg-scented whole grains. When it's done, you flip it onto a platter and slice it into wedges to serve.
A kitchen tip before you begin: Quick batters like this one are at their best when they're barely mixed. Too much mixing makes the gluten in the flour toughen. Be sure to mix the flour quickly and efficiently so that it stays tender as it bakes.
Michael Smith hosts Chef Abroad on the Food Network and is the author of the new cookbook Chef Michael Smith's Kitchen.
Ready time: 1 hour
1/2 cup water
1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 large unpeeled local apples
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk (cow's, rice or soy)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat your oven to 350 F using a convection fan if you have one.
Pour a half-cup of water into a 10-inch oven-proof non-stick fry pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the sugar over the surface of the water, taking care to avoid the edges of the pan. (The trick is not to stir at first, so that the sugar melts evenly. It will form a simple syrup.) Then, when the water has evaporated and the sugar begins to colour, gently swirl it to help it brown evenly. Once the caramel is deeply golden brown and aromatic, about 10 minutes, add the butter. Turn off the heat and whisk until smooth.
Core the apples and slice each one into 8 wedges. Arrange the wedges cut side down on the caramel to form an attractive outer ring, overlapping as needed, then filling the inside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, oats, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, brown sugar and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the dry one. Stir with a wooden spoon just until a smooth batter forms. Pour the batter over the apples. Bake until firm and cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes.
Gently loosen the sides with a rubber spatula, then cover with a large serving plate. Carefully invert (the caramel syrup will be hot) and remove the pan. Add a splash of water to the caramel left in the pan and reheat over medium, whisking steadily until a smooth sauce forms.
Drizzle it over the flipjack, then slice into wedges and serve.