Saturday, March 28, 2015

success at last: mini German pancakes


Finally gaining some momentum in my not so favorite Australian apartment kitchen.  I'm starting to get the hang of baking with my tiny little oven.  Fairly certain I need to buy an oven thermometer (one in celsius)*.  And pretty sure I need at least the Aussie version of my immersion blender with the beaker, bowl and whisk.  The food processor I bought off gumtree (like Craig's List) is too big for small jobs (and also unhappily, not very powerful).  Oh, I miss all my tools from home.  The motors would die sad deaths here with the different current, so they are all living in someone else's kitchens while I am away.

My baking failures have possibly as much to do with hand creaming butter and sugar as they do with the giant eggs I was buying.  But after a 0 for 3 start on baking, I have turned the corner and built up some arm strength.  Greg's been away and I'm good at hauling things home on my bike and on foot, but I had to draw the line on small appliances.  Just a luxury that could wait. Groceries (still learning to buy less to carry less), table lamp (yep, missed the delivery and I had to carry that big box home by the beach which was lovely and funny), new Birkenstocks (yes, they are ugly but supremely functional at the beach), print leggings (right,  I do not need more leggings but the ones here are so much lighter and well, they are prints so they are, you know, cuter) and a new bikini (yes, bikini, I am telling you no one cares here and they are just easier to layer) can all find their way home.  But small appliances, no.  So I've creamed butter and sugar until light and fluffy with a wooden spoon and whisked egg whites into meringue all by my own power and the baking success ratio is now evened up with 3 wins.  March Madness I tell you.

Here's a super quick recipe that you can whip up for breakfast now, but it's probably dinner time where you are and sunrise here.  You have what you need and if you have a blender, that luxury kitchen item,  you are golden.   Maybe you've made a Dutch baby pancake before in a big 9 x 13 pan where it puffs high in the oven and immediately falls when you take it out.  This is the same idea, but little individual serving pancakes get all cute and puffy in muffin tins and then fall leaving a well you can fill however you see fit.  You could go savory with a little cheese and cooked bacon or sausage and some fresh herbs or a chutney.  Or you could be me and go sweet with jams and or nutella. Pretty sure kids would find this whole process fun.  

Blend away and be thankful for your well-stocked kitchen, but if you have to use a whisk like me you'll be fine.  You can also easily half this recipe.  I did.  Better fresh than to have leftovers.  If you do, just freeze them right away so they don't get too heavy.  

Mini German Pancakes
1 cup milk (skim is fine)
6 eggs
1/2 C flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour (all white flour is fine too)
2 tsp honey (optional, especially if you are filling with savory things)
1/2 tsp vanilla 
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C melted butter
powdered sugar
jams, nutella or whatever for fillings

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray.  
In a blender (or vigorously with a whisk), blend together the milk, eggs, flour (s), honey (if using), vanilla and salt pulsing until the batter is smooth and without lumps (scrape sides with motor off, as necessary).  Add melted butter slowly, blending until incorporated.  Pour batter into muffin cups a little more than half full.  Bake at 400 degrees until puffy and golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Make sure you peek to see how cool and puffy they look before you open the door and they start to fall. Carefully turn them out of the tins and dust them with powdered sugar (if going the sweet route).  Fill and serve while warm.  

Makes 16-18 in a standard size muffin tin

the old-fashioned way and the ingredients 

whisking away

tins filled

super puffy half batch


dusted with powdered sugar (note the little pool of melted butter, nothing wrong with that)

filled, yum

breakfast with a view
*credit Steve Flood of Australian reality television My Kitchen Rules (aka MKR) fame for the oven thermometer tip.  Greg texted me he was in the same barber shop in Manly and I hopped on my bike to get this shot and as it turns out, to have a nice long chat about the show, our kitchens and baking.  I hope Steve and Will win this season, but if Steve was not telling in case you want to know.

MKR's Steve Flood (Brit, but Manly local now just like me)





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