Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dutch Baby Pancakes

I'm not a pancake person. I suppose at one point in my life I was, but then a childhood pancake related trauma turned me off of them.

It's a long story.

Okay, no, that's not true. It's a medium length one.

When I was living in St. John (I think I was about 6 or so for this incident), we had one car. My brother needed to go to kindergarten in town, my father worked in town and I went to school in our neighbourhood out in the suburbs. So, that meant we had to get up at hour zero dark stupid, pile into the car and drive Dad to work downtown. Then we'd drive back, I'd go to school and my mum would take my younger brother downtown for school.

Have I mentioned I've never been a morning person?

Anyway, to deal with the tricky problem of school mornings and breakfast, my father would cook huge batches of pancakes (usually blueberry) over the weekend and then freeze them individually. Said pancakes were then popped in the toaster (we're talking pre-microwave days) and handed to us kids to eat in the car.

We did this three times a week.

I have this very clear memory of sitting in the car one winter day, bundled up in my snowsuit, the heat barely working and being handed a pancake.

The toaster had burned the outside. It was frozen in the centre. It was my third one like that that week.

And I just snapped. No more pancakes. I couldn't stomach the thought of eating them again.

Even now, they arouse no joy in me... unless, of course, we're talking about a less traditional kind of pancake. Martha Stewart's Dutch Baby Pancake makes a semi-regular appearance (read: once every couple of months) in our weekend breakfast routines. I like to switch up the apples for pears, the cardamom for cinnamon, maple syrup (the real stuff, please) for the honey and throw in a little vanilla to the batter. Whatever you decide to do, it puffs up all golden and brown and tastes NOTHING like the burnt pancakes I used to have to eat in the car.

 Have you been traumatized by a food from your childhood? Tell me I'm not the only one!

Martha Stewart's Dutch Baby Pancakes 


Serves 4.

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/3 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add butter. When melted, add apple wedges.

I leave the skin on for added nutrients. And it looks pretty.
Cook until softened and lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in honey and cardamom, and remove skillet from heat. 

Golden and softened
In a separate bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients, except confectioners’ sugar, until smooth. Pour over apple mixture.

Mmm. Batter + Apples.
Bake until puffed and brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer pancake onto a serving platter by flipping out.

Serve immediately, cut into wedges, with confectioners’ sugar sifted over the top. And, might I recommend a side of bacon? Everything is better with bacon!

Breakfast of champions!

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