This pancake is so good. In fact, it is more like a custard than cake and a wonderful breakfast delight. It puffs up nicely in the oven and then as you let it set, it absorbs all of the butter, sugar and cinnamon that is on the bottom layer. You can sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top, or even a drizzle of honey or syrup, but I find this wonderfully sweet (although not overpowering) as it is and really does not need it.
Notes from the Test Kitchen:
This recipe is so easy to make ... but your guests will never know! The custard part of this recipe was so good and creamy. It's the perfect breakfast treat for a special day.
I highly recommend that you prepare and measure all ingredients and place into small bowls so you can just grab the bowl and dump as you go. This saves on confusion and ensures that you have all ingredients necessary.
Heat the oven to 400°F. Peel, core, and quarter the apples, then cut them in half again to make 8 thick slices per apple. Then cut each of the slices in halves or thirds. You should have about 3 cups of chopped apples. Place these in a small bowl and set aside.
In another small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of sugar with the cinnamon and ginger and set aside. Measure out your brown sugar and set aside to grab by placing it into a small bowl and loosen it up so it is easier to sprinkle. Measure out milk into a one cup measuring cup and grab your flour, salt, eggs, vanilla and nutmeg.
Cut the butter into chunks and place them in a deep cast iron skillet or 8x8-inch baking dish. Put the skillet or baking dish in the oven for 3-4 minutes, or until the butter is melted.
Take the pan out of the oven and sprinkle the 1/3 cup brown sugar over the melted butter. Carefully arrange the apples on top of the brown sugar and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the apples. Put the pan back in the oven to caramelize the apples and sugar. This should take 7-9 minutes while you prepare the cake/custard mixture.
Whisk the flour with the remaining tablespoon of sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly with a large wire whisk to beat out any lumps. When the flour is smoothly incorporated into the milk, beat in the vanilla and the eggs one by one. Beat by hand for 2 minutes, or until foamy. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes. By now the sugar should be bubbling around the apples (about 7-8 minutes or so).
Take the pan out of the oven and pour the batter over the apples. Bake for about 20 more minutes or until center is set and sides are lightly browned. The pancake will puff up dramatically but fall after a few minutes after you take it out of the oven so do not be alarmed if you see it fall, it's supposed to happen. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 7-10 minutes before cutting. You can cut this "pie style". into 8 servings.
If you want, serve with powdered sugar or more cinnamon sugar.