We love oven pancakes in this house. Give us Dutch babies, puff pancakes, German pancake - whatever you call them, we will eat them. They are perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. My tiny daughter can easily eat a half pancake; it is the one thing she will always eat.
I first learned to make oven pancakes when I was in middle school. I found a recipe for apple puff pancake in a magazine and copied it onto a sheet of bunny shaped paper. I am sure that piece of paper is still filed in my mom's recipe box.
When Mr. Graham and I first moved in together, we took an inventory of our combined cookware. He pointed out the pan he used to make puff pancakes, and I knew he was a keeper!
The other morning I decided that I wanted to make an oven pancake that was full of fruit, something more like a clafoutis, a close cousin of the Dutch baby. Clafoutis is traditionally made with unpitted cherries, but cherry season is short in these parts, so that is where flaugnarde steps in. Flaugnarde is made with apple, pears, prunes, or plums. It is from the Auvergne and Limousin regions in France.
We had a bowl of ripe pears and some sliced almonds, so the fruit part of the equation was settled. I just needed to figure out the batter.
There are as many variations of flaugnarde as there are Dutch babies. I did a bit of research and decided to stick with our regular batter, but add a little extra flour. I decided to put the almonds on top with a little sugar to add some crunch. It was perfect.
Let's get started:
Pear Almond Flaugnarde
1 - 2 Tablespoons of butter
1 - 2 pears, I used 2 D'Anjou pears
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 - 2 Tablespoons of brandy or Poire William, if you have it (or a teaspoon of vanilla extract)
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup of AP flour, I used half AP, half whole wheat pastry
a scant 1/4 cup of sliced almonds
1 - 2 teaspoons of sugar to sprinkle on top (I used cinnamon sugar, but plain sugar is good too)
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Put the butter in a pie pan or cast iron skillet and place it in the oven until it melts; it should just take a few minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. With a heat proof pastry brush, brush the melted butter all over the inside of the pan.
Slice the pears into thick pieces. Place the pears into the hot buttered pan. If the pears are not quite ripe, you can put the pan of pears into the oven to cook them a bit, for 5 - 8 minutes. You could do the same with ripe pears and a little bit of sugar to add some caramel goodness.
Let's make the batter.
Add all of the eggs to a large mixing bowl and whisk well. Add milk and whisk again. Add sugar, brandy (or vanilla extract), and the salt. Whisk well. Add the flour and whisk until it is incorporated. There will be a few lumps, but that is okay. Try not to overwhisk, or the pancake will be tough.
Pour the batter over the pears. Sprinkle the top with the sliced almonds and the topping sugar.
Carefully put your pancake in the oven. It will take 17 - 25 minutes to cook. It will rise spectacularly and should be brown around the edges.
It is best served warm out of the oven, but I also like it cold, though it never lasts that long in this house.
Kitty really wanted to join us for breakfast. She loves eggs.