If you’ve never had dutch baby pancakes before, you have to give them a try. They are so easy to make and I love how they bake in the oven: crispy edges, golden brown and filed with whatever you want. They are quick and hassle free: no flipping, sticking or issues with overcooked outsides and undercooked insides. This one is particularly tasty (if I may say so myself). The hazelnuts give a wonderful crunch and flavour, the pears are juicy, and it is perfectly (i.e. not overly) sweet.
I just got back from a two week vacation when I made these. By the end of any trip, I am pretty much swearing off food. As wonderful as whatever I get to taste and eat overseas is, I am never used to eating out for so many meals a day. So, I was surprised when I wanted little more than some yogurt and fruit the weekend that we got back. While this pancake is light enough, I think it is more because there is something about eating a special-feeling breakfast on the weekends that I can’t resist. There is something so celebratory about it, making the every day special. And so, I like marking my weekends and quiet mornings with company with something more special than my every day cereal and milk.
Unlike French toast, which you need bread for (which, I never have in the house) or most other sweet breakfast that take time and effort to make (this is why I always have scones like these in the freezer, no effort there), this pancake is a cinch and can be filled with whatever fruit you have on hand (or nothing at all if you prefer that). I like how it comes out of the oven as one huge pancake to share, and actually think it would make a wonderful dessert (sprinkled with powdered sugar instead of maple syrup?) for a special occasion dinner.
Base recipe from Smitten Kitchen
Feel free to replace the whole wheat pastry flour with all purpose flour or the coconut sugar with brown or granulated, if that is what you have on hand. I can't wait to try this with nectarines or raspberries in the summer!
Preheat oven to 400F
In a 12 inch pan, melt butter over medium heat.
Once the butter starts to brown, add hazelnuts and pear slices. Cook over medium heat, until tender and starting to brown (about 5 minutes).
Remove from heat.
In a medium bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Whisk until fairly smooth (although a few lumps are fine).
Make sure the pears and hazelnuts are in one, even layer in the pan.
Pour pancake mixture over the pears and hazelnuts.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until edges are browned and the rest of the pancake is golden.
Serve with maple syrup or powdered sugar.