Saffron laughed as I told her I was making a puffy pancake last Thursday evening. Once again, I found myself wondering what to make and once again I started to experiment when I shouldn't have - late in the day and well past the typical dinnertime. No matter, because we are far from typical. Breakfast, especially now during the Summer months doesn't happen until about 11h (sometimes later), and dinner typically is under the stars with a lantern hanging from the patio umbrella and a candle flickering on the table. With nights so warm here in Texas, we enjoy our meals outside on the patio and often wait until after the prime mosquito time to eat dinner.
After some research (which almost always includes reading articles on Wikipedia) , I wrote up my recipe for my first experience with a puffy pancake and was excited to see how it would turn out. I wanted to make sure there was enough for all five of us, so I used six eggs. For flavourings, I used a combination of vanilla extract and dark rum - I use Zacapa 23. The remaining ingredients included whole milk, cane sugar, a pinch of sea salt, and all-purpose flour. I blended it all in the blender and added the mixture to a hot cast iron pan that had been heated along with the oven at 425°F. If I remember correctly (I forgot to write it down), the pancake baked for 20 minutes. The children and I were watching the rising of the puffy pancake through the glass oven window. It really did puff up!
After removing the pancake from the oven, I dusted powdered sugar over the top, followed by freshly grated lemon zest, and the juice of half a lemon along with sliced organic strawberries.
I didn't realize how different the flavour of this pancake was from regular pancakes - more eggy than cakey. Overall, I liked the taste and will continue to experiment with different versions - the next one with Grand Marnier and orange zest.
Puffy Oven-Baked Pancake (the first version)
makes plenty for a simple European dinner
6 eggs, room temperature
240 ml whole milk
145 grams all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cane sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon dark rum
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (added to pan)
Place 10" (unbuttered) cast iron pan into cold oven. Preheat oven and pan to 425°F.
Blend eggs, milk, flour, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and rum in blender until smooth, making sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
Wearing oven mits, carefully pull out the oven rack with pan and add the butter. Make sure that the sides of the pan are well coated. Pour the batter into the hot pan, replace the rack, close oven, and bake for about 20 minutes - until pancake starts to puff.
Remove from oven. Cut pancake into wedges and dust powdered sugar over the top, sprinkle some lemon juice, and add freshly grated lemon zest. Top with strawberries and serve immediately.