What’s in a name? We explored this idea recently, with our article on Fire Cider, and here we are again. Luckily, this timeless recipe seems not to have generated any trademark vitriol, though, as is so often the case with food that our mamas made us, folks can get rather passionate about the “proper” names and methods. I grew up knowing this dish as Finnish Pancake, which is funny, since my ancestors came largely from Germany. Our neighbors called it a Dutch Baby, and I remember heartily disapproving of this departure from reason. Nowadays, I’d choose to call it Pannakakku, as it’s so much more fun to say. But set the name aside for a moment.
This is a simple and elegant recipe by any name, and like so many elemental preparations, it has likely been “invented” several times over, using the simplest of pantry staples. Egg and milk and flour, an old cast iron pan…well, it’s a wonder the French don’t claim it too, and the Italians.
It looks amazing in the pan, as it comes from the oven, a great golden cloud of breakfast souffle that slowly collapses as it cools. Such drama.
Would we be any less impressed to learn that it is the easiest of breakfasts to make? I’d go so far as to say that it’s easier than scrambled eggs.
For while eggs must be tended and prodded with spatulas as they cook, the Amazing Pan Cake of Indeterminate Origin simply goes into a hot oven and comes out a mere 20-25 minutes later, looking like the glamour queen of the breakfast world, while you sip your coffee and await her arrival.
This recipe can be doubled, or another egg added to the recipe, to feed another person. The size of the pan plays a large part in the finished texture; smaller pans will produce a more custardy pancake, while a larger pan with the same amount of batter will make a lighter cake that rises higher but collapses to a very thin layer as it cools. How did your mama make it?
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Melt the butter in a 9” cast-iron skillet on the stovetop.
Meanwhile, measure the milk into a medium-sized container.
Add the eggs, zest, and vanilla extract and blend well.
Combine the liquid mixture with the flour and mix until thoroughly blended.
Pour the pancake mixture directly into the melted butter in the cast-iron pan.
Bake the A.P.C.o.I.O in the oven at 425°F for 20-25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over the pancake, and sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Or dollop some jam over the top; berry, stonefruit, or apple butter.
Serve in wedges like a pie.
It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make delicious, sustainable, homemade food more often. Stop by and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or, as always, you can do it the old fashioned way and come by the store to speak with one of our in-house experts.