Mornings don’t get lovelier than this. A crisp oven-puffed pancake, filled with a mound of assorted fresh berries, all lightly dusted with confectioners’ sugar. This recipe promises to please even the pickiest eater.
Yield: 2 to 4 Servings
2 extra large eggs
½ cup milk
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon cinnamon plus ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon allspice
Preheat the oven to 400°F. with the rack on the center shelf.
Whisk the eggs with the milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Pour the flour over the egg mixture and, using a batter whisk or, a regular whisk, combine the ingredients until no large dry pockets remain. Then give the batter a few more brisk stirs to make the mixture come together, but don’t overwork it (small lumps will still be visible).
Place the butter in a 9½-inch glass pie plate or a 10-inch well-seasoned cast-iron skillet and place the dish in the preheated oven for 6 minutes, or until the butter is melted and bubbling and the pan is very hot. Pull the rack toward you so the dish is accessible. Working quickly so the oven stays hot, whisk the spice blend into the hot butter. Shut the door and let this heat for 1 minute. Open the door and pour in the pancake batter (don’t worry if it seems uneven). Shut the door and bake the pancake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the sides are very high and golden and the center is irregularly puffed.
Remove from the oven and use a thin metal spatula to transfer the pancake (which will look like a giant empty pastry bowl) to a serving plate. Use a paper towel to dab off any excess melted butter in the center. Serve the pancake immediately, filled with mixed fresh berries, dusted lightly with confectioners’ sugar.
Timing is Everything:
• To enjoy these pancakes first thing in the morning, do this:
• If you’ve made your spice blend ahead of time, you’re ahead of the game.
• The night before, measure and sift the flour. Leave the dish or pan on your work surface. Measure out the butter and keep it wrapped in the refrigerator. Assemble a bowl of assorted berries and keep chilled. Measure 1 teaspoon of the spice mix and leave this in a small covered bowl. Set the table for breakfast.
Here’s the Scoop: On Parents, Kids, and Breakfast
As the mother of three children, regardless of their age, I’ve noticed that mornings—and breakfast foods, in particular—have always helped me to reaffirm and even strengthen my bond with my kids. During those early years, I tried to use breakfast as a time to reassure my kids that I would always take care of them and that doing certain errands without them just wouldn’t be any fun. Our morning talks, usually wrapped around something homemade to eat, seemed to make a discernible difference when they left the house each morning feeling calm, satisfied internally, and knowing how much I loved them.
Now that my kids are teenagers, weekday breakfasts are quite different. Mornings are hectic and everyone has a different schedule. Usually I only get to kiss them good-bye as they fly into the kitchen, grab something edible, and then disappear. When I’m organized, baked goods like homemade muffins, scones, and pancakes are very doable and still seem to make my kids so happy. Even though we don’t get to sit down, eat, and schmooze the way we used to, I can still provide their morning dose of nurturing.