Quarantine Cuisine: Chef Ariel Coplan’s recipe for dessert-worthy apple crumble pancakes
We’re asking Toronto chefs to show us what they cook up using basic pantry supplies while they self-isolate at home
Like many of us, chef Ariel Coplan is confined to his home. We asked the social-distancing chef to whip something up with ingredients he already had on hand. His recipe: a stack of dessert-worthy pancakes.
Distrikt 461 executive chef Ariel Coplan is typically a pretty healthy eater. A few years ago, a stomach ailment forced him to go on a low-fat, low-acid diet. Recently, though, he’s been eating a bit more frivolously—especially last week, when he celebrated his girlfriend, Andreea Lizano’s, birthday in quarantine. “Pancakes in general are a treat. They aren’t an every weekend thing, but more for special occasions,” says the chef, who based this recipe on a plate of hotcakes he used to serve at Thoroughbred, his popular restaurant in the Entertainment District that closed back in 2018. Think of something to celebrate this weekend and make yourself a stack.
1 lemon (optional)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2/3 cup white sugar, plus 2 tablespoons to coat the apples
1/3 cup buttermilk, plus extra for greasing pans
1 pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter
Start by pre-heating the oven to 375°F. While it’s warming up, mix together all of the dry ingredients. Then, using a grater, rasp the butter directly into the dry mixture and stir gently, dispersing the butter evenly.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and buttermilk.
Then, make a well in the centre of your dry ingredient bowl and slowly mix in the wet ingredients. Make sure not to over-blend the pancake batter, but stir it just enough so that it’s all mixed together.
It’s time to flip out. On medium heat, add a big knob of butter to your favourite frying pan.
Once that melts, it’s time to pour in the batter. It’s up to you how big you want your flapjacks to be, but for easy flipping try and keep the diameter to about 15 centimetres.
Once your pancake has firmed enough to flip, let the other side brown for another two minutes. Then put it in the oven on an oven-safe plate for six to eight minutes. This should yield thick, fluffy pancakes with crispy edges.
Now for the topping. Peel, core and slice your apples and dunk them in lemon water. This keeps them from turning brown. If you prioritize speed over aesthetics, feel free to skip this step.
Strain the apples, coat them in white sugar and then throw them into a pan on medium-high with another knob of butter. Sautée the apples and sugar, stirring frequently to caramelize the slices. Coplan says Granny Smith are the best varietal to use because they don’t turn mealy, but you can use any apple (or even pears, if that’s what you have on hand).
If you want to make things extra decadent, do like Coplan and whip up some butterscotch (it only takes 10 minutes).
But you can also choose to top the pancakes with granola, for some nice crunch to each bite.