Amanda Hesser wrote a column about this pancake in the March 25, 2007, edition of The New York Times Magazine. I gave it try one day soon thereafter and have been making it ever since. Well, perhaps I got us started, but in the past year or so, my nine-year old daughter has taken command.
This pancake is nothing more than eggs, flour, milk, and a little nutmeg, baked in the oven in a pan full of butter. It is then topped with powdered sugar and lemon juice. It’s a cinch to make, and the original recipe takes well to tweaking. By the time I first showed Greta how to make it, I had already decreased the amount of butter called for and determined that a pinch of salt is a welcome addition. Greta has increased the amount of nutmeg and to the recipe she adds her special stirring method. I can’t tell you what she does, but her pancakes come out more billowy than mine every single time. I’ve watched her, trying to uncover the secret of her technique, but it evades me still.
Today being New Year’s Day, Greta and I decided that it was an excellent day for her pancake. I had also decided to prepare a batch of baked apples, something I’d been wanting to do ever since I’d been served one for breakfast at King’s Cottage during that Lancaster weekend. Greta set to work beating a couple of eggs, and then added 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 c. milk, and a pinch of salt.
Next the fresh nutmeg -her favorite part. Greta will tell you to “just grate it until you think you’ve put in enough.”
After the nutmeg, blend until only combined. The batter should still be a little lumpy. (This is where Greta excels.) Next, melt 2 Tbs. of butter (or twice as much, if you’re so inclined) in an oven-proof skillet.
Pour the batter into the hot pan,
and set it in a 425° oven. Bake approximately 12- 15 minutes. The pancake should puff up, in billowy mounds, and should have a lovely golden color, even toasty on the edges.
Remove pan from the oven and sprinkle to your heart’s content with confectioners’ sugar.
Next, we would normally sprinkle with the juice of half a lemon, but having discovered our fruit drawer remarkably bare of lemons, we decided to use an orange – and we loved it!
Cut the pancake in wedges and serve with berries, if you have them. Jam or fruit butter might also be considered.
Next time: the baked apples!