This is one of those classic sweet and savoury combos that are popular in Canada and the Netherlands. The Canadians have a penchant for American style pancakes with salty bacon and maple syrup. And my favourite Dutch pancake is the one with slices of apple, “spek” (Dutch bacon) and onion baked into the pancake and then spread with the slightly sour “Rinse Apple Stroop” (Apple spread).
Here I’m going the lazy route and baking a pancake to share in a pie dish in the oven. It’s akin to the Dutch Baby made famous by the Pennsylvania Dutch, but this has less of a rise and fall. By the way, Dutch Baby isn’t Dutch at all, just like the Pennsylvania Dutch aren’t Dutch at all: they are originally “Deutsch” (German) speakers, immigrants from Germany, Austria and sometimes Switserland. Dutch. Deutsch. Easily confused, right?
Indeed there is also a German oven baked pancake with onion and bacon that must have inspired the Dutch Baby. But why it’s called a baby, I have no idea!
The Swedes love the sweet and salty combo too, especially in an oven baked pancake called ugnspannkakka, which often features salted pork and is served with the infamous ligonberries. And yeah, I’m not going to try and pronounce that either.
Treated as an oven bake like this, suddenly the faithful pancake becomes a vehicle for endless sweet or savoury combinations. Just make sure there isn’t any excess moisture in the filling, then experiment away.
Oven Pancake with Apple, Onion and Bacon (serves 3-4 – RSF)
TIP: This is really lovely with some grated cheddar or mature gouda folded through or sprinkled on top before baking. I know it sounds unlikely, but give it a try.
To go completely savoury, omit the sugar and replace the apple with 250 gr chopped or sliced mushrooms. Serve with a green salad instead of syrup.
1 tbsp coconut oil or butter (optional if your bacon is very lean)
2 apples (granny smith or other firm tart eating apple), finely sliced, grated or spiralized
1 large red onion, thinly sliced into rings or half moons
150 gr smoked bacon or pancetta, cut into thin lardons
4 large eggs
200 gr flour, white, brown, wholegrain or spelt (I used wholegrain spelt)
1-2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground flax seeds (optional)
200 gr Greek yoghurt
100 ml milk or buttermilk
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix, apple pie spice mix, or your own mix of ground cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg
1 tbsp coconut palm sugar (optional)
Heat the oven to 190 C.
Grease an oven skillet or pie dish with the coconut oil if using. Add the bacon lardons and bake for 5 mins or so. Add the onion, toss to coat and bake for another 5 mins. Add the apple, toss to coat and bake for another 5 mins.
Drain and return to the dish.
Meanwhile whisk the eggs with the spices until smooth and pale. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and flax (if using). Whisk until smooth.
Add the yoghurt and milk and whisk again until smooth. You may need more or less milk to get a nice batter texture.
Pour the batter onto the onion, bacon and apple mix. Alternative: fold the bacon mix through the batter, instead of pouring the batter on top. Bake for 10 mins, then sprinkle over the sugar if using.
Bake for 20 mins or until set and golden.
Serve the pancake pie in the skillet or pie dish with some syrup poured over and extra syrup to hand round.