Saturday morning breakfast in the early spring: a cup of your favorite tea or coffee, a slow breeze drifting in with the sunlight, and this beautiful Pear Oven Pancake. This could be you tomorrow morning. All you need to do is make this beautiful Pear Oven Pancake. I’ve seen it called a Dutch Baby or a Dutch Pancake too, but I’ll call it something simple and recognizable, something to beckon you from your routine of scrambled eggs and burnt toast.
Whatever you call it, this beautiful breakfast treat is simple and delicate – somewhere between a French crepe and an American pancake. The magic is that it does not use any leaveners (good for Passover?) such as yeast, baking soda, or baking powder. The eggs do all the rising – that and a hot buttered pan. Just the words hot buttered pan should get you excited, am I right?
This giant pancake can be measured in no time and thrown (gently) in the oven. While it bakes, you can go do something else instead of spending your morning at the stove flipping pancakes one by one. And if you want to feed more than a few people, make two of them at the same time. As long as you have the pans, I don’t see why you couldn’t.
When it emerges from the oven puffed and menacing, you’ll want to gather the troops and eat it shortly after. If nothing else, you’ll want them to see it’s glorious transformation. Then, instead of dowsing it in sugary syrup you dot it with pats of butter, squeezes of fresh lemon juice, and a dusting of powdered sugar that create their own fresh, lemony glaze. This pancake is fairly light, yet luscious. You could even skip the pear (as does the original recipe) and top it with fresh berries or a homemade fruity compote. Do as you please, but I’d suggest making this ASAP. And if you leave out the pear, you probably already have all of the ingredients.
Note: Though this recipe is not strictly part of the Cookbook Challenge, it did originate from a small crafty book that I used to own. I gave it away at some point figuring I would never do any of the adorable little projects featured within, though I did manage to save this cozy recipe, intended for a cold winter’s morning.
Pear Oven Pancake
adapted from Mary Engelbreit’s Winter
2 T. unsalted butter
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 medium ripe pear
butter, lemon, and powdered sugar for serving
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. In a large cast iron skillet (10″) place the butter. Put the skillet in the oven as it preheats to heat the skillet and melt the butter. Keep an eye or a nose out for burning butter. You just want to melt the butter. Remove the pan from the oven as soon as that is accomplished.
Meanwhile whisk together the eggs until somewhat foamy (this recipe can also be entirely made in a blender). Add milk, flour, salt, and almond extract and whisk to incorporate. If desired peel your pear. Remove the core and slice into thin slices. You ideally want a riper, softer pear, but a harder pear also adds a nice texture contrast. It won’t have much time to soften in the oven.
Once the oven has preheated and your butter has melted, carefully swirl the butter around the pan, using a pastry brush if necessary to make sure the pan is well-buttered. (REMEMBER: the handle of the pan is hot so if it helps to remind you, put an oven mitt on the handle when it comes out.) Immediately pour the egg batter into the hot pan and carefully arrange the pear slices in a pretty pattern on top. Return the hot pan to the oven and bake until puffed and golden brown – 15-18 minutes depending on your oven. The pancake should feel somewhat firm when you touch the center.
Serve hot with pats of butter, squeezes of lemon and a dusting of powdered sugar. Serves 2.