In case it is not obvious enough let me make a confession. I am a recipe junkie, always looking for new things to cook and new ways to play in the kitchen. So last year I happily signed up to help test recipes for The Whole Family Cookbook by Michelle Stern. I was rewarded by discovering many delicious recipes and having fun playing with new recipes. The only hard part was not adapting them without trying them first. I almost never cook a recipe exactly as written, even the first time. However many of the recipes I tested have appeared often at my table (although now I have tweaked them, it's what I do) so I was excited to see what was in the finished cookbook.
The cookbook is set up to make it easy for you to have your child help in the kitchen. The recipe steps are color coded to identify which ones are appropriate for your child to help with based on age. Michelle also offers some insightful guidance to getting your children to eat healthy for the long term. Including some advice on dessert that I love.
Julian mixing the apple puff batter
When I received the actual cookbook one of the first recipes I tried was her Baked Apple Puff. An oven baked puff pancake has been a family favorite breakfast item for years, so I was excited to try a version that included fruit. While it was good straight out of the oven I also loved this version at room temperature as a dessert. After several hours the ingredients have a chance to mellow and soften and the puff itself becomes almost custard like in consistency. This time of year this recipe has the added benefit of using up some of the eggs our hens are laying every day. I still love this version hot for breakfast, although then I prefer it without the cinnamon and sugar on top (I told you I can't help adapting in the kitchen).
Baked Apple Puff
reprinted with permission from The Whole Family Cookbook by Michelle Stern
5 Tbsp butter, divided
3/4 cup milk
3 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour [I used 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour and 1/4 cup white flour]
2 small crisp apples, organic if possible (go for fuji if you prefer a slightly sweeter apple , or granny smith if you enjoy a tart flavor) [I was making this in Vermont in the winter, so I used Empire apples]
Preheat oven to 450°
Melt 2 tablespoon butter in the microwave or in a saucepan.
In a medium sized bowl, crack the eggs.
Beat the eggs lightly and then add the melted butter.
Measure milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, salt and flour, and then add to the eggs.
Mix all of the ingredients until the batter is well blended.
If you have one use an apple peeler/corer/slicer to peel, core and slice your apples. If not, use a vegetable peeler to peel the apples.
Cut out the cores and slice the apples thinly.
Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a 10" ovenproof skillet. Add the sliced apples and cook until they are golden brown, 5-10 minutes. (If you'd like you can add a dash or two if ground cinnamon).
Put on oven mitts and take the skillet off the heat. Pour the batter over the apples.
Measure 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and stir together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the batter.
Place the skillet into the oven and cook for 15-25 until gently browned and puffed. (Do not open the oven during the first 15 minutes of the cooking process, or the puff will deflate!)
Put on oven mitts, remove the skillet from the oven, and immediately place an oven mitt over the handle, so that you won't accidentally burn your hand.
Cut the puff into wedges and serve immediately. [Alternatively you can allow the puff to cool and serve it as a dessert at room temperature]