Autumn means back-to-school, turning leaves and football, but it's also the peak of apple and pear season across the country. Whether you're a fan of Granny Smith, Braeburns, Honey Crispy or Pink Pearls, the Bartlett pear or Anjou, there's no better way to start a fall day than flipping a few apple-laden flapjacks or dishing up pear-stuffed French Toast. These top-rated recipes earn rave reviews for bringing the sweet tartness of the tree fruit into sharp focus. Double up on the apple intensity by serving an easy-to-make cider syrup.

Hotcakes Off the Griddle

When folded into the batter, slices of apples and pears add not only that crave-worthy flavor, but also juicy texture. That means a pancake is transformed from fluffy to something a bit more dense and substantial.

Pro tip: After slicing, sprinkle apples or pears with a little sugar. That releases moisture, which can be mixed into any topping. Pat fruit dry before folding into batter. These steps add to the pancake's ability to turn golden brown while cooking.

102266977 bacon apple pancakes photo by Meredith
Photo by Meredith Publishing

Oven Baked Goodness

Think of these caramelized beauties as the easiest souffle you've ever made. OK, don't freak out. Souffles aren't that difficult... if you follow directions. Forget souffles, let's call them Dutch Baby-ish, baked until slightly crispy, just begging to be drenched in syrup. Or, better yet, an apple compote.

Pro tip: Cast iron skillets make the best baked pancakes. Pre-heat them in the oven and pour the batter into the hot pan for the deepest shade of yum.

650 x 465 101951550 dutch baby photo by Meredith
Photo by Meredith Publishing

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