Saturday, June 23, 2012

Oven Puff Pancake with Bacon-Sauteed Cantaloupe

Have I said before how much Will likes pancakes? He loves them. He wants them every Sunday. (Actually, he eats them twice a week, because one batch makes plenty for 2 breakfasts.) I am not crazy about pancakes, even though when I make them from scratch I do find they are pretty tasty. So every once in a while I try to break the Sunday morning mold and try something different. An oven puff pancake seems like it should still scratch the pancake itch, and from the standpoint of being a honey-delivery device, it does. While Will is incredibly supportive of everything I make, he still asks for his standard pancakes every Sunday morning, but we both scarfed this up as a change.

The only true way to appreciate the [aesthetic, not culinary] beauty of a puff pancake is while it's still in the oven before you've opened the door. The craggy heights the batter reaches are sculpturally magnificent.

Puff Pancake
from The Joy of Cooking
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter

Set rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425.
Whisk together milk, eggs, and salt. Stir in flour until smooth. Melt butter in 10" oven-safe skillet, tilting to coat sides of pan.
Pour batter into pan without stirring and bake in oven for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350 and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until puffed and brown. Serve immediately.
Note: I only used 2 tablespoons butter, and did not feel it was detrimental.

The pancake will collapse almost immediately after coming out of the oven. Be not disappointed! This is what gives you the perfect bowl into which to heap delicious toppings. Fruit, jam, syrup, honey, powdered sugar, or even sauteed vegetables and cheeses are all terrific options. I tried to be more foodie-esque and felt I was successful with diced cantaloupe sauteed in bacon.
Melon-Bacon Pancake Topping
1/2 small ripe cantaloupe melon, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2" dice
2 slices fatty bacon
1-2 teaspoons brown sugar

Cook bacon over medium heat until fat is rendered. If desired, remove meat and set aside. Otherwise, discard solids and add diced melon to hot fat. Simmer over medium heat to extract fruit juices. Cook until melon is soft, but not falling apart. Sprinkle with brown sugar and raise heat to medium-high and boil until sauce starts to carmelize. Spoon fruit (with bacon, if using) into center off baked puff pancake and drizzle with juices.

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