I was introduced to this traditional breakfast treat/science experiment by my brother when we were teenagers. I have no idea where he got the recipe, but one Saturday morning while the rest of us were watching cartoons (yep, it was those days) he took a big glass pie plate, poured in some butter and some batter, and amazed us all with his inflatable breakfast. This is great for a morning when you have a little time for luxury, and is also perfect for when you feel like having breakfast for dinner. Serve with some bacon and orange juice, and you’ve got your own little oasis of breakfast bliss.
These are also known as German Pancakes, Dutch Babies, and Popovers (if you make them in muffin tins.) The egg in the batter provides the puffy souffle-effect, and it’s really quite something to watch through the oven door. Enjoy this hot, since your pancake will begin to deflate within a few minutes of leaving the oven (it’s still just as delicious when it’s flat!) Be creative with your toppings. I have used cherry pie filling here, but maple syrup, fresh fruit, powdered sugar, caramel sauce, peanut butter, chocolate, Nutella, dulce de leche, jam, whipped cream, or even your favorite cheese or cheese sauce are all good options.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. You will put the pan in the oven before it’s all the way preheated (just this once!!) Prepare your bowl or pan by spraying well with cooking spray, or brushing generously with melted butter. Have your toppings ready.
In a small bowl, combine the egg, flour, milk, and salt. Mix well with a fork or whisk, removing lumps. Pour batter into prepared pan, and place the pan in the oven (no matter the oven’s point in it’s heating process.)
Set the timer for 20 minutes, but look in on your pancake every 5 or so minutes. At the 10-15 minute mark, the puffing will begin. Don’t miss this, at least the first time– it’s fun to watch. Continue baking until the sides begin to turn golden and the pancake is set and puffed, 20-25 minutes.
Remove, top, and serve promptly.
Note: The sides puff in a variety of ways depending on the tilt of the universe (just kidding–I don’t really know the science behind puff-shape differences.) Yours may look like the photo below. Either way, grab a fork and enjoy!
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