Basically this was a glorified popover recipe. For those of you who aren't my sister and have maybe never had a popover, this is what they look like:
Image courtesy of whatscookingamerica.net
They're made using an egg-rich batter, and if you've ever watched popovers (from outside the oven of course, because under no circumstances should you open the oven door one second before they're done) they do much the same thing as these pancakes did. The outside of the popovers rise before the middle does, but because of the shape of the popover pan, the middle eventually rises as well. Well, when using a shallow gratin dish instead, something completely different happens.
But listen to me rattling on about popovers when this post isn't about popovers; it's about pancakes so let's get to it. First, the ingredients:
butter, eggs, milk, flour, vanilla extract, orange zest, salt
In addition to these, there were also a 1/2 pint each of raspberries, blueberries, and sliced strawberries, which I gently combined in a bowl with some sugar:
Surprisingly, even though I made this in the fall, the berries were still pretty good
I set the berries aside to macerate and preheated the oven. Using the same gratin dishes I used for the Bay Scallop Gratins, I divided all four between two sheet pans and placed a teaspoon of butter in each dish.
Using a whisk, I combined the eggs and milk. I slowly added the flour, vanilla, orange zest, melted butter, and salt. I poured the batter, which was pretty thin, into a medium-sized measuring cup to make it easier to pour:
Once the batter was ready, I did the same thing I would have done with a popover pan. I put the gratin dishes in the oven to melt the butter and preheat the dishes:
This took about 3 minutes. Once the butter was hot and bubbly, I took the dishes out. The melted butter needed to cover the bottom of each dish, but it had sort of pooled to one side, so I had to try and swirl each one to coat the bottom. This was easier said than done since the dishes were all 425 degrees and I was trying to work quickly. Once each dish was pretty well coated, I divided the batter equally among the four dishes:
The pancakes baked for about 12 minutes until they were puffed and lightly browned. I was so sure these would fall flat on their face, but lo and behold, they rose beautifully!
Since the dishes were split between two sheet pans, one of the pans had to be on the bottom rack, so they took a few extra minutes, but they turned out beautifully as well. How beautiful, you ask? Ummm...
As you can see, once the pancakes were out of the oven, I divided the berries, which were now a little juicy and very sweet thanks to the sugar, evenly among them. This sweetness cut through the egginess of the batter, which was something I was worried about given that I really don't like eggs.
These were so freaking delicious, you would not believe it. I'm getting excited just writing about them.
You all: Ugh Morgan, we're just so impressed that you got up early and made this fancy breakfast. I mean, could you be any more awesome?
Me: Oh please, it was nothing. A little flour, a little butter. Psh.
Ok, full disclosure: I actually made these for dinner. Anyone who knows me knows I am not a morning person. And although I do love breakfast, especially pancakes, there was no way I was dragging myself out of bed before 10 to get these things in the oven. But I made the full recipe which serves 4 for breakfast, and it turned into an awesome dinner for 2. Just look at how pretty our table looked:
Please note the other 2 pancakes waiting to be devoured in the background.
I added some warm maple syrup to mine which was D-lish, but Dan had his straight up with the berries and their yummy juices. Ideally, I also would have dusted these with some confectioner's sugar to make them even prettier, but we didn't have any.
And I must say, those gratin dishes were well worth it. When I first bought them, I was a little concerned I would use them once and then they would sort of be the odd things that I always wanted to use but could never find a use for. But I will definitely use them over and over again if for nothing else, than just for these delicious creations.
Make this when: you're making someone breakfast in bed. The batter comes together really quickly so you won't have to wake up super early. And while the pancakes are in the oven you can crisp up some bacon and whip up a mimosa.
Next Course: Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts