Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Breakfast fixation

Breakfast for me lately has been all about the puffy pancake. I just can't get enough of this perfect combination of simple, fast and yum. Here is the one I ate (all of) this morning:

Not my most photogenic of specimens due to the fact that I was rather impatient with the "preheat the oven" step, but you get the idea. Today I went the maple syrup and butter route, but they're also great with jam, fresh fruit and whipped cream, or the traditional powdered sugar and lemon.
Puffy pancake magic is all about the pan. You need something heavy that will hold a lot of heat, and it's also got to be ovenproof. I've made the puffy pancake with OK success in an All-Clad skillet, but good old (or newish, in my case, meaning that I'm the first owner) cast iron is the best candidate and really gives the best results. If you don't have a cast iron skillet, do consider getting one. I know they're heavy, but they're very inexpensive and one of the best all-purpose cooking tools ever. It's one of those things I wish I would have learned to use and love sooner than I did.
Anyway, the real secret is to get the pan hot, hot, hot before pouring in the ingredients and popping the whole thing into the oven. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend non-stick, as it's not good to heat them "naked" as Sara Moulton would say.

Recipes abound for the puffy pancake, also known as a Pannekoeken or Maine pancake. Here's the one I use:
1/2c. all purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2c. milk
a dribble of vanilla or, traditionally, some fresh grated nutmeg
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 425. Place a well seasoned 10"-12" cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stovetop while you whisk together the ingredients, or zizz them in the blender for a few seconds if you prefer.
When skillet is very hot, melt a tablespoon or two of butter, oil or bacon grease in the bottom. The skillet should be hot enough that the fat would smoke if allowed to sit for any length of time. Pour in the batter. It should bubble and give you a good, loud sizzle when it hits the pan. Place immediately into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until puffy and golden brown.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with butter and your choice of toppings or maple syrup (only the real thing please!)

Aside from the whole preheat the oven thing, these take about two whole seconds to throw together. A since they only bake for 10 minutes, it's pretty much instant breakfast gratification.

I've got my eye on a few 6 1/2" cast-iron skillets over at the Lodge e-store that I could use to make little individual puffy pancakes. Now would that be fun or what?


I had a cast iron skillet that I gave to the Goodwill a few years back, never used it. Boo.
Thanks so much for this recipe! I've somehow never heard of Dutch pancakes and now I'm eating far too many of them.
Ok, I am VERY late on this comment but I've just tonight discovered your blog. (And, by the way, you're the reason I'm so late getting home from work...)
Anyway, try this: squeeze a bit of fresh lemon on it as soon as you take it out of the oven, and serve with preserved lingonberries (Kowalskis or Byerlys) and true maple syrup.
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