I’m Chinese, born in Hong Kong. My husband, Scott, is Scottish-German, born in Buffalo, New York. Boy oh boy, our kids are insanely lucky! Not only do they get red envelopes full of money during Chinese New Year, but they also score big time on Halloween, Lunar Festival, Christmas, birthdays, Dragon Festival and Easter.
Neither Scott nor I are overly religious (meaning, if I was in deep-shit, praying “Dear God” probably wouldn’t get past His screener.) We decided early on that perhaps we could skirt around the religious aspect of holidays and Sundays by creating meaning through special family rituals that we celebrated when we were kids. For example, hand-knitting our Christmas stockings, eating long-life noodles for birthdays and baking pumpkin-shaped cookies from a cutter made by PaPa.
Family traditions, passed on from generation to generation are more meaningful than just chocolate Easter bunnies, a Santa who picks the lock at our front door and prancing around the neighborhood dressed as Elvis or Elvira.
Our little kids, who are 2 1/2 years old and 4 years old, don’t fully understand the meaning of “tradition” quite yet, but they know that every Sunday morning is reserved for German Oven Pancakes. It’s an incredibly easy recipe that even the youngest can help out with. Go ahead, ditch the electric mixer and make this by hand in a big glass bowl and a whisk.
Instead of cooking individual pancakes on the stovetop, the entire batch of batter bakes in a skillet. Since our kids make the whole thing – from beginning to end, we really never know what shape will emerge- sometimes the German Oven Pancake is flat with a high curved edge, sometimes it has puffs, valleys and crevices perfect for hiding chocolate chips.
We all gather in front of the oven window and watch the German Oven Pancake rise and form. The edges are light and crisp, perfectly browned. We usually top it with in season fruits, slather it with whipped cream and eat it right out of the skillet, tearing pieces with our hands. My older son, Andrew, loves the golden edges while Nathan goes straight for the soft pillows in the middle. It’s our Sunday morning family tradition and hopefully, it will be one that will be passed on for many more generations to come.
Straight out of the oven: it can come out with a giant puff in the middle:
or a German Oven Pancake with really super-high sides:
but either way, the German Oven Pancake is really YUMMY!
Preheat oven to 450F. If you have a convection oven, set it at 425F - the pancakes rise even higher on the convection setting.
Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, melted butter, salt and sugar. Gradually add flour to egg mixture, a spoonful at a time. Have your child help you by spooning the flour in while you whisk by hand. Make sure the flour is well incorporated in the batter with no lumps, but do not over-mix, as you want to keep the pancake light.
Lightly spray a 9"-11" oven-safe skillet with cooking spray. Pour batter in the skillet. Bake 12-18 minutes, just until the edges are golden. Check your pancake at the 12 minute mark. It's fun to turn on the oven light and watch the pancake form!
Note: Try experimenting with different pans and skillets - just as long as you use something at least 9" wide and oven-safe. You could also divide the batter into two smaller pans and have them bake side by side and see which one rises higher. Just make sure that your oven rack is in the middle position or lower. Top with fruit granola, yogurt, powdered sugar, syrup, toasted almonds or fruit butters. Drizzle with caramel, chocolate syrup, honey or maple syrup.
Look who won the Szechuan Peppercorn contest!
LPC- email me your address! jan (at) steamykitchen (dot) com