Cookbook review: 'The Apple Lover's Cookbook'

'The Apple Lover's Cookbook' by Amy Traverso is a practical apple encyclopedia with recipes for 59 varieties of apples.

Three Many Cooks
Also called a German pancake, apple dutch baby is an egg-leavened breakfast dish. This delicious treat is like a sweeter version of Yorkshire pudding and a close cousin of the popover.
'The Apple Lover's Cookbook' by Amy Traverso ($29.95, W.W. Norton & Company, October 2011)

"The Apple Lover’s Cookbook" arrived right on cue the moment I was contemplating Apple Week at Three Many Cooks. I had seen an advance copy when I wrote a blurb for the back for it last spring. Here was my assessment of the book back then:

Google ‘apple’ and you’ll get a little info. Purchase Amy Traverso’s "Apple Lover’s Cookbook" and you’ll get an in-depth guide to the major 59 apple varieties and a collection of all our favorite recipes savory and sweet (including which style of apple to use in every one). I wish there was a book like this for every single fruit and vegetable.”

Now that’s it fall, I’m really loving this book. Apples are coming in strong, and I’ve got a book full of appealing recipes – Vermont Apple Cider Donuts, Williamsburg Wrapples (little iced apple pastries) and a whole chapter devoted to pies and other baked apple desserts. There are savory recipes, too – Pork and Apple Pie with Cheddar-Sage Crust, Sweet Potato-Apple Latkes, Apple Risotto.

In fact the recipes looked so good I couldn’t settle on just one, so the publisher has given us permission to run two. This morning it’s Dutch Baby, a puffy apple-filled popover, perfect weekend breakfast/brunch fare. The Southern girl in me couldn’t resist Apple-Stuffed Biscuit Buns, so stop in tomorrow for that recipe.

When I said I wish there were a book like this for every single fruit and vegetable, I meant it. "The Apple Lover's Cookbook" is one resource you’ll keep coming back to for years – both for its appealing, timeless recipes and for its invaluable, exclusive apple information.

Dutch Baby
From "The Apple Lover's Cookbook"
Makes: 4 servings • Active time: 20 minutes • Total time: 35 minutes

Since the apples don’t fit in the skillet in a single layer you’ll need to move and shift them so they cook evenly – just cook them until they get an appealing golden brown. And make sure you mix the batter until it’s smooth.

Also called a German pancake, this egg-leavened breakfast dish is like a sweeter version of Yorkshire pudding and a close cousin of the popover. I love it because it solves my eternal breakfast dilemma, providing the sweetness of pancakes, without the sleepiness that follows an all-carb feast. It also takes very little time to make, but looks so impressive, all golden and puffed up, when you bring it to the table.

Apple Notes: A sweeter apple pleases my morning taste buds better than an acidic one. Favorite firm-sweet varieties include Baldwin, Ginger Gold, Gravenstein, Honeycrisp, Jazz, and Piñata.

Equipment: 12-inch cast iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet

3/4 cup (110 g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons (43 g) unsalted butter
1-1/2 large firm-sweet apples (about 12 ounces total; see Apple Notes) peeled, cored, and cut into 1/8-inch-thick rings
5 large eggs
1 cup (240 ml) whole or 2% milk
Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling
Lemon wedges

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. and set a rack in the middle position.

Sift the flour into a medium bowl, then stir in the sugar, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk for about 1 minute; the mixture should be frothy and drizzle from the whisk in a thin stream. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Lay the apple slices in the butter and cook, without stirring, for 2 minutes. Gently flip the slices and cook until tender, about 2 more minutes.

Working quickly, add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk just to combine. Pour the batter into the hot skillet with the apples, then transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until the pancake is puffed and golden, 10 to 14 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately from the skillet, with lemon wedges to squirt over the top.

Related post: Apple-Stuffed Biscuit Buns

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