German pancakes, sometimes called Dutch babies, are baked rather than cooked in a skillet. They are best made just before serving because they will deflate quickly. The pan is heated in the oven with some butter until it is just melted and then the batter is poured in. You can use an oven-proof glass pie plate or a nonstick skillet. I can think of no other breakfast dish that is more romantic then this puffed up colorful pancake, made just for two. This is much easier to prepare than standing by the stove making individual pancakes— And you’ll have more time with your significant other.
This mash-up of a crepe, pancake and a popover puffs up into a light yet satisfying breakfast delight. It seems like a magic trip as you watch the pancake puff up around the edges and the center look like an inflated pillow. Once out of the oven the Italian mascarpone cheese melts into the pancake and powdered sugar dissolves into the creamy cheese creating a light glaze. Colorful berries add welcome sweet fruit flavor and brilliant red colors. Some people ask me why I don’t add the berries to the pancake batter. If you add any fruit to the batter the pancake won’t puff up as much because the fruit holds it down. So, scatter a handful of mixed berries or a spoonful of sautéed apples or pears on top of the just-baked pancake and then serve immediately. Your Valentine will thank you.
Triple Berry German Pancake
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely chopped orange zest
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons softened mascarpone
2 cups fresh mixed berries (sliced strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)
- Preheat the oven to 450° Combine the milk, flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and citrus zests in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, a blender, or in a bowl and whisk or process until smooth.
- Place the butter in a 10-inch pie plate or ovenproof skillet and put it in the oven to melt, about 3 minutes. Swirl the inside of the pan to coat it evenly with butter.
- Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for about 15 minutes longer or until the pancake is nicely browned, cooked in the center, and well puffed. Remove from the oven and slide onto a round platter, using a spatula. Spread the pancake with the mascarpone and sprinkle powdered sugar generously on top. Scatter with the berries and serve immediately.
(Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.)