lemon-scented german pancakes

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Over the past 2 years, the only kind of mail I’ve been getting is – you guessed it – college mail.  “Come visit us!  You’ll love it here!  This is the perfect place for you!”  Occassionally, I even get a letter that reads, “Thank you for requesting information, Kimberly!”

 . . . I hadn’t requested information any of those times.

Lately, the amount of college mail has been dwindling – thankfully!  I feel like I’ve single-handedly killed a forest by merely being on the receiving end on all of this mail.  Not the best feeling. 

Yesterday when I got home, I had only one piece of college mail waiting for me.  When I lifted the letter, I saw something else under it . . . also addressed to me . . . and in my own hand-writing.

Weird. Weird. Weird.

Twilight Zone?

Health Letter to Self

After a second, I instantly remembered this letter – writing it, addressing it, sealing it.   Feeling strange about the whole situation. 

Eighth grade health class: One of our final assigments was to write a letter to our future selves.  What we’re like, who we’re friends with, what we’re interested in, what our goals are.  We’d be seeing them again 4 years later, when we’d reached our senior year.

But everyone forgot about them – until yesterday. 

As I read through my letter, I had a few good laughs.  At one point I call myself (or rather, my hobbies) “old-fashioned;” at another, I refer to food as “cuisines.”  I suppose my eighth grade self was a bit pretentious.  That aside, I’m very much the same person.

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But that’s not to say that I haven’t changed at all since 2007. 

I know I have.

And that’s not to say that I won’t change over the next 4 years – or thereafter.

I know I will.

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Despite all the variables in my life, I can say with certainty that cooking will remain a constant.  I’ll never stop wanting to try new dishes, draft new recipes – learn, improve.

(Sidenote: I’d like to take a moment to apologize if I’ve offended anyone with my above math reference.  I’ve been exposed to way to much calculus lately . . . it happens.)

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These individual German pancakes (or Dutch babies, as they’re sometimes called) are simple, simple, simple – but super delicious.  The pancake batter is highlighted by a bit of fresh lemon zest and a splash of vanilla extract.  The pancakes are faintly sweet, so a dusting of powdered sugar and some fresh berries make for the perfect finish.  I went with blueberries and blackberries because I love how they are complimented by the lemon zest; you could certainly pour on a bit of real maple syrup, but I really don’t think it’s necessary.  This is definitely a dish where you want the simplicity and the freshness of the ingredients to shine.

Troubleshooting: For some reason, I have not had the best of luck with popovers and other such egg-based batters baked in a hot oven.  Though incredibly flavorful and satisfying, I have my suspicions that my pancakes turned out a bit more dense than they should have.  Here’s a list of the potential reasons why:

  • The original recipe said to heat the oven to 450 degrees F, then lower the temperature to 400 F once putting the pancakes in the oven.  I forgot to turn down the oven until the pancakes were in at 450 for 10 minutes.  I turned it down to 400 for the last 5 minutes of baking.
  • I over-filled the muffin pans; it’s possible that once the batter started to puff, it was weighed down by the sheer amount of batter in the vessel.  Just a theory.
  • The pancakes are going to fall – plain and simple.  It’s the nature of this kind of batter.

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Lemon-Scented German Pancakes

Adapted from Martha Stewart

– 2 Tbsp. Butter, Melted

– 4 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar

– 2/3 C. All Purpose Flour

– 3 Eggs

– ¾ C. Whole Milk

– ½ tsp. Kosher Salt

– 1 tsp. Freshly Grated Lemon Zest

– ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract

– 1 C. Blackberries, for garnish

– 1 C. Blueberries, for garnish

– Confectioner’s Sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter inside each muffin cup of a 6-cup nonstick jumbo muffin tin.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, granulated sugar, melted butter, eggs, and milk; process for 3 minutes.  (I used an immersion blender instead; worked just as well.)  Stir in lemon zest and vanilla extract.

Fill each cavity of the muffin tin with batter.  Transfer tin to oven; reduce heat to 400 degrees. Bake until pancakes puff up and become golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Remove tin from oven; invert onto a flat work surface. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and top with fresh berries; serve immediately.

Yields 6 Servings

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29 Responses to “lemon-scented german pancakes”

  1. these look delicious! do you think they would work in a normal muffin pan instead of a jumbo one?

  2. I make these a lot I use my blender they do not turn out as well without using a food processor or blender. I think it incorporates more air in the batter and develops the gluten better, they are a tiny bit heavy even when prepared by my mom. ;)

  3. Okay so I was home alone and had nothing to do. I’d been to germany this past summer, saw your recipie and decided it looked easy enough. I’m a horrible cook! so I made 6, tried one… and decided I needed to make another batch. I made 2 more and called some friends over! Thank you for a wonderful Saturday!

    • I’m so sorry I’ve taken so long to respond, but I am so so glad that you liked the recipe! Your post really means a lot to me, so thank you, thank you, thank you! (And you’re so welcome for that wonderful Saturday!) I’m beyond flattered!

  4. I have to confess, I stopped here because I loved the name of your blog… gorgeous name! These German pancakes are definitely my kind of breakfast, I have to try this one! Great post, can’t wait to see more :)

  5. I love the idea of baking these individually! Dutch babies are one of my favorites, but the center slices of a big dish tend to lack interest. Beautiful pictures.

  6. What a great idea. We also had dutch babies for breakfast this morning, but in the traditional pie pan. I love the idea of individual ones, especially for company.

  7. Saw your photo on Foodgawker, and wow, it’s simply stunning! Love the pancakes… we have made them a couple of times and they are family favorites. I used apple, but I really like your lemon with the berries, I think that will be our next combo! Nicely done!

  8. They were a huge hit here tonight – we had them for a “dairy” dinner along with a fruit salad. Even following directions,I would not really describe them as fluffy and light – more “moist and full of flavor.” I agree with you that they don’t need any syrup. Love the zing of the lemon in this recipe!

  9. Oh, how neat. I’ll have to try this with a muffin pan. I’ve always made German pancakes by putting the batter in a pie pan – which I recommend trying, if you haven’t already.

  10. This recipe was a great excuse for me to buy a new muffin pan, today. Will time it according to directions and let you know how it comes out. Love the anecdote about the eighth grade time capsule letter!

  11. My fiancee often make Dutch babies in a large cast iron skillet — very similar to German pancakes. We sometimes pour the batter over apple slices that have been cooking in butter and cinnamon sugar, then top the finished DB with maple or lemon simple syrup. Always so satisfied those mornings. When berry season comes back around, we’ll have to try your version!

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

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