Growing up, my mother made this dish for breakfast every Sunday morning before heading off to church. It is similar to a sweet skinny breakfast souffle...if there is such a thing. Dictionary.com defines nonpareil as "something without equal", and sure enough after one bite this morning, Mike DiMotta said "I've never had anything like this". It is a super simple, relatively fast treat with ingredients that are probably already in your kitchen.
I haven't been able to make it myself because I've never had a cast iron skillet...until now. Robert and I have had our eyes peeled for one on Craigslist, but never had any luck. A few weeks before Christmas we were walking around Cobble Hill in Brooklyn and there on the sidewalk was a pile of kitchen ware including two cast iron skillets (!!!). Robert restored them to beautiful working condition and we have been enjoying things we couldn't make before like Fritattas and my mother's Pancake Nonpareil.
Over the summer we had breakfast at Ben and Katie's where they made a "Dutch Baby". I had never heard of a Dutch Baby, but it was almost the exact same dish as Pancake Nonpareil. When I got home I looked for it in the index of my Joy of Cooking, and sure enough it's almost the exact same thing with a few slight differences. My mother's recipe, for example, calls for an extra egg white which i think helps to puff it up like a souffle. You can use pretty much any sized cast iron skillet, it will just change the thickness of the pancake.
Here are both recipes to taste test and enjoy:
from my mother
Preheat oven 425 F
Combine and beat lightly:
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs plus 1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 cup flour
Melt in 12" skillet:
4 Tbs margarine
When hot: pour in batter & bake 15 20 min.
2 Tbs powdered sugar
and return to oven for 2 min.
Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve promptly.
from the Joy of Cooking
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
Whisk together until smooth:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
Melt into a 10" oven-proof skillet over medium heat:
4 Tbs of unsalted butter
Tilt the pan so that the butter coats the sides. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and cook, without stirring, for 1 minute. Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the pancake is puffed and golden, 12-15 minutes. Serve immediately, for the pancake loses its puff, and therefore its drama, almost immediately. (What a fabulous sentence!)
Soundtrack: Cat Power: The Greatest