We are a family that cooks and when my four little chefs move to kitchens of their own I want them to be equipped to prepare food for themselves and their friends. My daughter is the proud owner of a variety of cake pans, one of my sons has his own whisk, and another son possesses a pie plate. Also, they each have a personal collection of cookbooks. They share their culinary items with our family while we all live under the same roof, but when they go, their collection of cooking item will go with them.
Months prior to my son's birthday, he told me about a commercial he saw for a new food called pancake puffs. I thought he was talking about something sold at a grocery store like frozen waffles or toaster strudels. After searching the freezer department of my local Kroger and not finding his elusive pancakes puffs, I realized it was actually an advertisement for a pan that he saw. He was quite relieved when I finally understood.
Instead of ordering the pancake puff pan from the television, I purchased mine at one of my favorite stores, Williams Sonoma. As a previous Williams Sonoma employee, I know that this pan is made by Nordic Ware, is easy to clean, and will still be around when my son is cooking breakfast for his own kids.
This pan can be used to create appetizers, desserts, and breakfast treats (also called ebelskivers). I often use the basic recipe "Filled Pancakes" that came with the pan. We fill them with strawberry jam, Nutella, lemon curd, cinnamon sugar, or whatever else we have in the house. This recipe makes about 40 filled pancakes so we always make at least one experimental batch with a filling we've never tried.
This recipe is a labor of love. It's not difficult it just involves time and techniques such as separating eggs, whipping egg whites to soft peaks, and flipping little balls of batter (warning: never attempt to let out the dog, pour a glass of milk, or change your facebook status while making pancake puffs). All these cooking steps require a little more attention than, let's say, pouring a bowl of cheerios. In addition to producing light round pancakes that are filled with warm yummy surprises, this recipes also produces a sink full of dirty bowls, spatulas, and measuring cups, again a labor of love, but totally worth it. Pancake puffs are best attempted on a lazy weekend morning by a very relaxed and well-rested chef. Happy Labor Day!
Pancake Puffs (a.k.a. Filled Pancakes or Ebelskivers)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
4 eggs, separated
2 cups milk
4 Tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for cooking
Fillings: jam, peanut butter, Nutella, fruit, chocolate chips, lemon curd. . .
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In another bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks, then whisk in the milk and the 4 tablespoons of melted butter. Whisk the yolk mixture into the flour mixture until well combined; the batter will be lumpy.
- In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff but not dry peaks from, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter in two additions.
- Heat the pancake puff pan over medium high heat. With a pastry brush, coat each well of the pan with butter. When the butter bubbles, pour 1 Tablespoon of batter into each well. Put 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of each pancake and top with 1 Tablespoon of batter. Warning: do not let out the dog, pour someone a glass of milk, or change your facebook status, stay at the stove. Cook until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy, 2-4 minutes. Using 2 wooden skewers or 2 mini spatulas, flip the pancakes over and cook until the other side is golden and crispy, about 3 minutes more.
- Transfer cooked pancake puffs to a plate. Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Repeat with remaining batter and fillings. Can be served with syrup or whipped cream.
- Serve immediately. Makes about 40.