At the Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast we try to use fresh seasonal ingredients for our legendary breakfast whenever possible. German pancakes are traditionally made with apples and this time of year apples are plentiful, but so are pears so this past week we picked up some freshly picked pears at the farmers market and substituted pears for apples in this recipe. The directions below will make one large German pancake in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or three pancakes in 5-6 inch cast iron skillets. We prefer to plate our food in the kitchen which is why we use the smaller cast-iron skillets but if you are making this for your family I would use the larger skillet and serve it family style at the table. The large skillet serves 4-5. These pancakes are light and fluffy as they come out of the oven and will deflate a little by the time you cut it. Make sure you have pot holders to remove the skillet from the oven and place the hot pan on an appropriate cutting board or trivet.
- 1 large firm-ripe pear, pealed, cored and cut into 1/8 inch slices
- 1 large lemon, finely grated to yield 1/2 Tablespoon of zest and squeezed to yield 2 Tablespoons of juice
- 4 room temperature large eggs
- 3/4 cup room temperature whole milk
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into three equal slices
- Confectioners’ sugar for garnish (optional)
Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees
In a medium bowl toss the pear slices with the lemon juice and set aside.
In a large bowl beat the eggs with an electric hand mixer on high speed until the eggs are frothy (3-4 minutes) Next add the milk, sugar, vanilla, salt and lemon zest and mix on low until combined. Finally, sift the flour into the bowl and mix on low until combined (no need to mix out the lumps or you may be over working the flour).
Heat your skillet(s) on the stove on medium heat for a couple of minutes to get the skillet HOT. You could also place the skillet in the oven while it is preheating instead of heating it on the stove. Add the butter to the skillet(s) then add the pear slices and sprinkle with the cinnamon. Turn the pears over and layer on the bottom of the skillet(s). Next pour the batter over the pears (equal amounts if using the smaller skillets) and place in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.
Note the cast-iron skillet must be well seasoned to avoid the fruit and pancake from sticking. A cast-iron skillet holds the heat better and will give you a more even brown bottom color on the pancake. Finding a cast-iron skillet at a yard sale or thrift store usually means it has been well seasoned. Again, feel free to use apples (the more traditional version) instead of pears. Enjoy!
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