While dousing these apple pancakes in rum and setting them on fire is optional, it makes for a truly dramatic presentation. The recipe comes from food writer and former Gourmet editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl, who grew up eating a version of the dish at Lüchow's, a legendary German restaurant in New York.
Adapted from Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl, published by Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC.
- 2 Granny Smith or other tart cooking apples (15 oz.), peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, plus more for drizzling
- ½ stick (4 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, divided
- ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup (4 oz.) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¼ cup dark rum or cognac (optional)
In a medium bowl, add the apples and lemon juice; toss to coat.
In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. When the foam begins to subside, stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the apples and cook until darkly caramelized and fragrant, 11–12 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then whisk in the flour, granulated sugar, and salt until smooth. Add the milk and continue whisking until a thin, smooth batter forms.
In a nonstick 8-inch skillet over medium heat, melt 1 teaspoon butter. When the foam begins to subside, pour in ⅓ cup batter, tilting the skillet to coat the entire surface with batter and form a thin pancake. Cook until just set, about 2 minutes. Evenly distribute one-third of the apples over the pancake, then pour another ⅓ cup batter on top, tilting the skillet to coat the surface and the apples with batter. Cook until the edges of the fresh batter have begun to set, 1–2 minutes, then use two wide, offset spatulas to flip the pancake. Continue cooking until the bottom is evenly golden brown, 1–2 minutes more, then turn out onto a large plate. Sprinkle generously with granulated sugar, then roll the pancake up like a jelly roll. Sprinkle with more granulated sugar, and if desired, drizzle with a few drops of lemon juice. Repeat with the remaining batter and apples to make a total of 3 rolled pancakes.
If desired, you can flame your pancakes: In the skillet used to cook the apples, add the rum and remaining 1 tablespoon butter; warm over medium heat. Add the pancakes, spoon the rum mixture over the top, and remove from the heat. Working quickly and carefully, use a gas lighter or a long match to set the pancakes on fire. Shake the skillet gently until the flame goes out, then transfer the pancakes to a large plate. Serve warm.