The Pancake

This recipe is not mine (that honor goes to Melissa Clark) and it definitely has an official name.  But whenever Alex and I get a hankering for it – and let’s be clear about the fact that we have on two of the four mornings that thus far comprise 2012, and on many a lazy December 2011 morning as well – we just talk about having “the pancake”.

The pancake is super simple and super quick.  It has only a few ingredients, all of which I  always have on hand.  And it satisfies my constant craving for citrus.  Better still, for me at least, the process of making it today helped me begin work toward some of my resolutions for the year:

1. Get more comfortable with my camera. Actually learn how to use it so it’s not a $1300 paperweight. Today I learned how to set a custom white balance!  Baby steps…

2. Use my cookbooks more often.  I don’t know about y’all, but I find it all too easy to get sucked into the world of food blogs and end up cooking solely from recipes scribbled on scraps of paper or (worse yet, for my grease-covered iPhone) a computer screen.  In any case, I should spend more time with the tomes in my collection, doing something with them beyond just stroking the pages and going “oooohhhh” at the pretty pictures within.

3. Update the blog at least once a week!

So without further ado… I present to you the pancake.

The Pancake
*adapted from Melissa Clark’s recipe for The Mysterious David Dares Pancake, in In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite

Pancake Ingredients:
3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup AP flour
big pinch of nutmeg (1tsp or so)
pinch of kosher salt
4 TBL unsalted butter
2 TBL confectioners’ sugar*
juice of half a lemon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425*F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the milk, and then add the flour and whisk that in, too.  Toss in a pinch of nutmeg (or, if you’re me, a teaspoon or so) and a pinch of salt and stir again.  There will be lumps.  Don’t panic.  It’s still going to be tasty.

Set the mixture aside and, in a large skillet (I use a 12″ stainless steel, but I hear that cast iron would work just fine), melt your butter over medium-high heat.  I usually just plop the butter in the pan and walk away until I can smell it getting toasty or hear it foaming – slightly browned butter is excellent here.  When the butter is melted to your specifications, pour the egg mixture into the skillet, put the skillet in your oven, and let cook for 15 minutes or so.

Now, given the instructions above, you will probably not be surprised when I tell you that I don’t set an oven timer for this. I cook the pancake when I want a relaxing breakfast, and I don’t find things beeping at me to be very relaxing. So my method of timing is to pour myself a cup of coffee, sit on my window seat with a cup of coffee, and read a few newspaper articles. Then I get up to check the pancake. When it’s brown and puffy I take it out. If it’s pale and flat, I leave it, and repeat the coffee/newspaper process until it is brown and puffy. But of course you could use a timer if you like. Really, it’s up to you.

In any case, take the pancake out of the oven when it’s lightly browned and puffy.  There might still be pools of butter on the top of the pancake, and that’s perfect.  Using a small sieve, sprinkle the pancake’s surface with confectioners’ sugar (the buttery places will develop a sugary crust when all is said and done) and put it back in the oven until all the butter has absorbed into the pancake. This should only take a few minutes, so not enough time for more than one newspaper article.

When the butter has absorbed, take the pancake out and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over top.  It’s ready to eat!  Now, Melissa Clark says that this recipe serves 4, but Alex and I just always eat the whole thing between the two of us. We cut it down the middle, and then fold each of the semi-circles in half to create cute little wedges like you see above. Sprinkling again with confectioners’ sugar (just a little) is optional, but highly recommended.

*if you don’t happen to have confectioner’s sugar, just spoon a tablespoon or two of ordinary granulated sugar into a coffee grinder and blend until you do have confectioner’s sugar

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