Apple Streusel Pancakes

Apple StreuselPancakes

Pancakes are my first food memory.

I’m one of 8 children (all girls, wrap your head around that) and one of  about 27 cousins (I don’t even know the actual number) which made alone time with my grandparents really special.

The spring after I turned 4, I spent a Saturday night in a My Little Pony sleeping bag on the floor of my Grandparents bedroom, falling asleep to a wall mounted TV playing Wheel of Fortune. When I woke up, my Grandpa (Papa) was already gone. He was an artist that had done quite a bit of the original artwork for the Madonna Inn, looked a lot like Desi Arnaz and had a heart of pure gold.

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My Grandma packed me into her 1980’s Cadillac with overstuffed seats that felt a lot like recliners and headed for the San Luis Obispo community center’s Pancake Sunday. My Papa was the “featured chef” and the hall was packed. My Grandma shuffled me past tables of seniors, wide eyed and waving at the tiny blond 4 year old. I was like a celebrity, I was Harry Tregarthen’s granddaughter and I was a “baby” to these ladies who just wanted to pick me up and squeeze my cheeks.

My Grandma and I join a round table with four other older ladies. “Your Papa makes the best pancakes, you know,” one of the ladies was actually talking to me, instead of about me, that was new for me as a 4 year old, “That’s why this place is so busy. Last weekend, when Sal was cooking, only half full. Today, standing room only!” I didn’t know what “standing room only” meant, but I knew it was good.

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“They must be good pancakes!” It’s all I could think to say, but the thing about being 4 is that as long as you form a coherent sentence and say it with enthusiasm, people laugh. And they did, these ladies were my crowd and I was on fire.

“Do you know the secret ingredient is?” She asked, clearly as excited with the banter as I was. “Sugar?!” I said, because I’m 4, and that’s pretty much my life.

I hit again, they were rolling. I could have mic dropped. Once she caught her breath the older lady let me in on the secret, “7-up! Can you believe it? Instead of milk!” I didn’t know how to make pancakes, or even that milk was a part of the process but I did like 7-UP. He was brilliant, I couldn’t believe it. He had put soda in pancakes?! At 4 years old, before I had even seen a recipe, let alone followed one, my Papa taught me that you should experiment. Break the rules, do your own thing.

Pancakes are a great recipe to experiment with. So basic, and with so many places to go. I don’t drink soda anymore, so I never have it on hand, but when I did I always used it in pancakes. It makes them fluffy and light. But now, even though I’m back to using milk, I like to experiment. Pancakes are like a canvas, nearly ever ingredient from sweet to savory somehow work in a pancakes.

And to this day, I always think of Papa when I make pancakes.

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Stout French Dip


  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 lb chuck roast
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 12 ounces porter or stout
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 4 French sandwich rolls


  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, black pepper, salt, cayenne, and smoked paprika.
  3. Pat the roast dry. Rub with spice mixture.
  4. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven, or other large oven safe pot, until hot but not smoking. Add the roast, sear on all sides. Pour beer and broth over the meat. Cover and roast in oven at 325 for 3 hours or until very tender. Move meat to a cutting board.
  5. Place Dutch oven back on the stove. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes.
  6. Shred meat using two forks. Split rolls, fill with meat. Spoon a bit of sauce over the meat. Serve remaining broth in bowls with sandwiches for dipping.

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45 thoughts on “Apple Streusel Pancakes

  1. One thing I rarely make is pancakes. I dont know why, but I just don’t. Well, okay I do. Because I would have to babysit them at the stovetop and usually I am just not that dedicated in the morning. Yours are gorgeous!

    1. I use an electric griddle and it’s amazing. SO worth breaking out for pancakes because you can cook ten at a time. SO much easier than one or two at a time in a skillet and then when your done the first few are already cold.

  2. These look like a fun variation on normal pancakes. And jusy in time for Shrove Tuesday. You’re so clever!

    Funny about the Madonna Inn. I’m from San Luis Obispo and my brother had his rehearsal dinner there. I’ll have to look more closely at the art next time I’m home.

    1. I love that place! My Grandpa actually painted most of the murals in the hotel rooms and he did the stained glass work and even used to hand paint the billboard when you drove into town.

    1. Grandmas are always good for cookies, aren’t they?! I’m pretty sure Food Blog Grandkids will get cookies on whole new level!

  3. What a great memory! I come from a family of 5 children, all girls – I imagine your dad was a special, extra sweet sort of man just like mine to deal with it 🙂 These pancakes sound and look wonderful!

  4. woah – i’m still trying to wrap my head around you growing up with 8 girls!! oh man, that is insane but kind of cool – if you all got along 😉 haha, i love the memories that these pancakes bring! they look SO good with that streusel topping!!

    1. The craziest part was that we were all born in a span of 11 years! Just one right after another. SOOO not how I’ll be doing things, I have one kid and maaaaaybe I’ll have one more. Someday 🙂

  5. And why wouldn’t you put streusel topping on pancakes?!?! Smartest move ever! It’s incredible the memories that pancakes bring about – I find that they illicit many more memories than scrambled eggs or cereal 😉 Itching to try your recipe and your photos are gorgeous as always!! 🙂

    1. It really is great. They turn out really fluffy and light. I need to get a Soda Stream and try it with homemade soda!

  6. Hi there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this pancakes recipe, and it looks awesome! I’ll make it this weekend and report back 🙂

  7. Cheers for big families!! I’m one of 8… 5 girls, 3 boys. 🙂 Only ours are over a 24 year span. My mom is super woman!

    I rarely crave pancakes but you just managed it. Absolutely delicious looking. And thanks for sharing about your grandparents, they’re very special memories I know!

    1. Wow, 24 years of having babies?! I can’t even imagine! That’s a lot, as a mom, I now can not imagine having more than 2.

    1. I didn’t think it was a lot at the time, but now that I have one kid, I think that many kids is pure insanity. I can barely do one, and I still feel like I’m not a good enough mom! One of 5 is still a big family. Now, as a mom, I think 3 is too many!

  8. I’m one of four girls and I thought that was a lot of girls under one roof, BUT 8… my dad would’ve stroked! On a serious note, Jackie… I always enjoy reading your posts… this one especially tugged at my heart strings! LOVED IT… and the shot with the syrup cascading down, my heart about stopped!

  9. Pingback: Amanda

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