Vanessa Chang
(A Glutton with Brains)


a glutton with brains

German Pancake


Cooking while in your pajamas is something we should at some point in our lives all experience. The reason you're even in your pajamas should be one of ease and leisure. A Sunday morning sleep-in. Or any day off.

During the freelance life, I learned to make the most of my flexible mornings, planning a bit of coffee, a bit of work, a workout and then a langurous morning meal to enjoy while multitasking with my Google dashboard.

Then it was good. But if you observe what I've heard referred to as a "tech sabbath," it's even better. The digital radio is just fine to catch up on podcasts or "Weekend Edition on NPR." The only multitasking you should be doing is minding the first batch of coffee and the German Pancake batter that will go along with that sweet, sweet caffeine.

Some people call it Dutch Baby. Others swear to God it isn't anything more than a less-beefy Yorkshire Pudding. I'm happy to stay out of the debate for the sake of just enjoying the damn, blessed thing. For all the dramatic height you achieve in presentation, there's relatively little work. A little flour, eggs and milk mingle with hot fat from a hot pan heating in a hot oven the chemistry does the rest to give pancake it's bouffant.

Maple syrup is always good. Butter would be overkill. For something really different (for those who insist on slathering dairy somewhere in the equation), I love creme fraiche and a good dousing of Lyle's Golden Syrup -- a sugar can syrup that's intensely sweet with an echo of molasses. I acquired a bottle to replace corn syrup I've seen in some confection recipes and let me tell you that the golden syrup does a wonderful job.


You can make this for one in individual ramekins. You can serve a brood if made in a large Pyrex glass or ceramic lasagna/baking dish. For two, I used my little red ceramic gratin. Actually, I made two batches in the little dish. Once we polished off the first round, there was batter left for another batch and we couldn't find a reason why to deny the runny batter it's proper, full life as the big steamy pocket of morning glory.

1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted * 1 tablespoon sugar * 1/2 teaspoon salt * 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter * 1 cup milk * 2 eggs * butter for coating

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with your baking container in it. Use 8 ramekins, a large Pyrex or ceramic baking dish or make a couple of batches from a small gratin dish. Be sure to have a pat or two of butter in the dish heating up with the container.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. In a small bowl or measuring cup combine the butter, milk, and eggs. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk together until the batter is smooth. If there are a few lumps, you probably didn't sift. And that's okay. It'll still taste good. [This whole step can be done in the blender, too.]

Remove the heated container(s) from the oven and pour the batter directly in. The batter should come up no more than 2/3 to the rim of the container, whatever it is. Plop it back into the oven and reduce the heat to 400 degrees. Keep the door closed -- as tempting as it is to spy on the chemistry in action -- you want the temperature to be stable for the sheer volume last seen on '80s hair bands. This recipe is far more tasteful ...

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes for a small gratin dish, about 10 to 15 for muffin tins and up to 35 minutes for a larger dish. Remove from oven and serve immediately with maple syrup or Lyle's Golden Syrup and creme fraiche. Great with salty pork like bacon or sausages.