I am not a big breakfast person, but I do have a couple special things I make for a treat on occasion. We do the pancakes, eggs, breakfast sandwiches, maybe waffles, regularly, but a Danish Puff and my Puff Pancakes are breakfast specialties.
Neither are exactly on the diet menu, but you can make them with a whole grain flour rather than white flour so as to be slightly more “healthy” . These are not something you make every day or even every month, and a great way to impress company! They just look special.
The Danish Puff has a shortbread- like base, and then a popover/Cream puff -like topping. The topping falls slightly after baking, and becomes a soft custardy-like layer on top of shortbread. It’s very good without the icing, which I think makes it too sweet. This recipe is from my first Betty Crocker’s cookbook, and something I made as a young girl learning to cook.
½ c butter or margarine, softened (that’s one stick)
1 c all purpose flour
2 tbsp water
½ c butter or margarine (that’s another whole stick)
1 c water
1 tsp almond extract
1 c all purpose flour
Confectioners’ sugar glaze (below)
Chopped nuts – walnuts, pecans, almonds or a mix
Heat the oven to 350F
For the base:
Cut ½ c butter into the 1 cup of flour. Sprinkle with the 2 -4 tbsp of water and mix up until it will form a ball. Divide it in half.
On an ungreased baking sheet, pat each half into a strip about 12 x 3”, and leave about 3 “ in between them on the sheet.
(hints: if your butter is cold, grate it and let sit a couple minutes. It will be soft enough to then work into the flour; work the dough with your fingers, like you might biscuit dough, and the butter will soften further and it will be easier to get the dough to combine. When spreading out on the sheet, use your fingers, and wet them with water, which makes it much easier to spread out the short bread mix)
For the top layer:
Heat ½ c butter and 1 c water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once it is a rolling boil, remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract and 1 c flour. Stir quickly and hard over low heat until it forms a ball. Remove from the heat and beat in all 3 eggs at once. It will be a bit loose until all the eggs get mixed in well.
Divide the eggs mix over each of the pastry strips, spooning the mix on evenly.
Bake for 60 minutes or until the top is puffed and crisp and browned. As it is cooled out of the oven, the top will shrink and fall slightly.
Drizzle with a confectioner’s sugars glaze and nuts if desired.
Confectioners’ sugar glaze: Mix 1.5 c confectioners’ (powdered) sugar with 1.5 tsp of vanilla extract and 1-2 tbsp of water until it is smooth and of desired consistency to spread or drizzle.
The puff pancake, or dutch baby or oven pancake as it is sometimes called, involves making a quick batter and pouring it into a heated cast iron pan (or baking dish or pie pan) The hot pan will create a crispy crust, and the instant heat will create the rise of the batter, making it “puff”. It’s important that all the ingredients, like the eggs, are at room temperature so as not to cool the pan too much when pouring in the batter. The pancake batter is basically the same in most recipes I’ve seen, but different fruit or toppings can be used and tailored to your taste.
Puff Pancake or Dutch Baby Pancake
Place 2-3 Tbsp of butter into a cast iron 10 ” skillet (or pie pan or oven safe baking dish)
Put this into a preheated 425F oven to heat thoroughly.
Using a blender, mixer or by hand, mix together until well combined, and almost frothy:
3/4 c milk
2 tsp sugar
3/4 c flour
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla or other extract of your choice (try lemon, almond or maple)
(note: rather than vanilla extract you can split open a vanilla bean and scrape out the vanilla seeds)
Remove the hot pan from the oven, and quickly pour in the batter.
Bake at 425F for 15-20 minutes until puffed up and browned.
Dust with confectioners sugar, if desired, or with maple syrup or a fruit topping (fresh fruit in season is best):
- apples sauteed with butter and sugar
- bananas sauteed with brown sugar
- a fruit compote like strawberry -rhubarb or peaches in a simple syrup
- a fruit flambe with rum (um-mm, cherries!)
- even strawberry jam, slightly heated
Since this can serve several people, it’s great for a brunch – and put out a variety of toppings for guests to choose from.
Neither of these breakfast choices have much sugar, at least without toppings, but the amount of butter could be a draw back. But, as noted, these are for something special, not your everyday breakfast or brunch.
Be creative – make them for dessert instead of breakfast!
Please try and let me know how you like them!