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Friday, December 21, 2012

Weekend Cooking- A Holiday Guest Post From Chef Michael Smith

This post is part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking.  If you have anything related to food, cookbook reviews, novel or non-fiction book reviews, recipes, movie reviews, etc., head over to Beth Fish Reads and add your post. Or, if you want to read food related posts, head over to read what some interesting people have to say about food.

This Weekend Cooking post is from Chef Michael Smith, who wrote one of my favorite cookbooks from this year, Chef Michael Smith's Kitchen- 100 Favourite Recipes (my review is here). Smith shares a special holiday memory of a dish his mother made for Christmas morning, Apple Pie Pancakes with Caramel Syrup. 


  One of my favorite parts of Christmas was breakfast! We’d all get up and discover a beautiful tree and my mom would cook her heart out for us before we even got to opening presents. She was famous for her pancakes, and on Christmas morn they just might arrive tasting like Apple Pie.

Apple Pie Pancakes with Caramel Syrup

Stirring grated apple and cinnamon into my standard whole grain pancakes upgrades this breakfast staple into an a.m. treat. The recipe can easily be doubled. Serves 4

For the caramel syrup

1 cup (250 mL) of sugar

For the pancakes

1 cup (250 mL) of all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) of whole wheat flour
1 cup (250 mL) of any kind of rolled oats
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of baking powder
1 tablespoon (15 mL) of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) of salt
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) of milk (cows, rice, or soy)
1/4 cup (60 mL) of melted butter
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of brown sugar
1 teaspoon (5 mL) of vanilla
3 cups (750 mL) of grated local apples
A splash of vegetable oil

To make the caramel syrup, pour 1 cup (250 mL) of water into a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in the sugar, evenly distributing it over the water and taking care to avoid the inside edge of the pan. Simmer the mixture, without stirring, until the water evaporates and leaves behind pure sugar syrup. The temperature will rise, and in a few minutes the syrup will begin to lightly brown. Swirl the pan gently and continue cooking until the syrup is golden brown and fragrant. Carefully pour in 1/4  cup (60 mL) of water to stop the cooking. It will sputter and sizzle. Continue heating, stirring until the water and caramel dissolve into caramel syrup. Pour into a jar and refrigerate until cool and thickened.
Preheat your largest frying pan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the
all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt, evenly distributing the finer powders among the coarser ones. In a second bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, butter, sugar, and vanilla. Stir in the grated apples, then pour the wet mixture into the dry one. Stir with a wooden spoon just until
a smooth batter forms.

Pour a splash of vegetable oil into your hot pan and swirl the pan to evenly coat the bottom with a thin film. Spoon the batter into the pan, forming your choice of large or small pancakes. Cook, turning once, until deliciously golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes in total. Serve with the caramel syrup.

The key to great pancakes is the right pan temperature—high enough to brown the outside but not so high that the exterior burns before the inside finishes cooking. Your preheated pan is at the perfect temperature when water drops dance on it without immediately evaporating (too hot) or just sitting and simmering (too cool).

Thanks Chef Michael for sharing your Christmas morning recipe. Every Christmas Eve, I make Scotch Pecan Pull-Aparts, set them out to rise and then pop them in the oven for Christmas morning while we open presents. What does your family have for Christmas breakfast? Please share your traditions in the comments section and have a very Merry Christmas. 


  1. Yummm. Mr. BFR insists on eggs and bacon on Christmas morning. I don't complain because I get to sit at the table like a queen and he cooks for me! I may try this recipe for New Year's morning, though.

  2. Apple pancakes are awesome, but I've only tried the Dutch Baby type. Will have to give these a try!

    We don't have a Christmas breakfast tradition, just whatever catches my eye. This year I'm thinking about doing a hashbrown casserole in the slow cooker.

  3. Mmmm - this sounds so yum! Our christmas morning breakfast used to be liver, boied bananas & a few pieces of bacon on the side.

  4. Well, you have made my mouth water this morning. These are definite to be tried pancakes.

  5. Happy happy Holidays to you and yours!

  6. Growing up we had cheese souffle for breakfast on Christmas morning and later an egg-sausage casserole. Both had the benefit of your pull-aparts -- fix them the night before and bake them in the morning.

    These days, we do our normal breakfasts because we know our visit to family will include a day of rich, salty food, plus wine. So we like to give our tummies a nice normal foundation to start the day.

  7. I love the idea of adding shredded apples to pancakes. How perfectly delicious. Happy Holidays!

  8. Pancakes, I take them every time over waffles. Love the addition of apples. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!