25 August 2013

Chocolate Chip Oven Pancakes with Mixed Berry Compote

If pancakes have a downside, it is definitely that they ostracize the chef.  So unfair.  The cook spends their time flipping and flap-jacking while the family sits around the table chattering away like happy chipmunks.  Sure, you can hear the conversation but it's a few rounds of batter in the pan before you can join the bunch.  You can attempt valiant effort of making all the pancakes in advance, but this always leaves someone with the sad, droopy pancakes at the bottom of the pile, steamed to death by their doughy counterparts.  This is why oven pancakes are fabulous.  Baked up at once, served at once and eaten all at once.  It's the pancake of lonely chefs.

My Mormor made an amazing oven pancake.  Her traditional Scandinavian version had bacon or sausage in the batter, whichever was on hand, for a savory breakfast delight topped with maple syrup.  However, I tend to favor fruit in my pancakes and let the protein be it's own little freebird side.  The hubs has his own favorite mix-in for baked goods - chocolate.  Half Canadian, half Choc-o-holic.  And in times of stress, the Choc-o-holic comes out.  One day this week while he was studying for his Step 2's, he called to tell me we were completely out of chocolate and wasn't I going to the store...?  His studious honesty was rewarded with four different bags of chocolate, which he merrily munched all night long.  But as a post-test treat, I am planning to make this little breakfast as well.  Just keep that chocolate coming.

As you might guess from the fact that they can be made with both chocolate and meat, the batter is very versatile.  With a base of eggs and milk, it has a hearty texture that can be dressed up or down any way you like.  You can play around with the flours to change the flavor even more.   I've used whole wheat, rye and am planning on trying these with buckwheat.  It's the fluffy, chewy texture of the oven pancake which makes it so fabulous.  Since the batter itself is not overly sweet, you can add some chocolate chips without being overwhelmed by sugar in the morning.  But what makes this dish great is the berry compote.  It's absolutely fabulous with the chocolate, soaking into the pancake so that every bite is filled with chocolate and fruit flavor.

This recipe is a perfect breakfast for two in matching 9-inch pie pans, and a modified half version of my grandmother's original recipe.  But if you're feeding a few more, just double the batch and bake it up in a big ol' cast iron skillet, serving in slices like a giant morning pizza.  You'll be a lonely chef no more with this at breakfast time!

Chocolate Chip Oven Pancakes with Mixed Berry Compote (2 9-inch pancakes)

For the pancake:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 1/2 tbs butter, softened
  • 6 tbs flour (half whole wheat or rye if desired)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbs sugar (or a full tbs for a sweeter pancake)
  • 1/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the berry compote:
  • 2 tbs water
  • 2 tbs fruit juice (pomegranate or apple)
  • 1/2 tsp flour
  • 1/2 c blackberries
  • 1/2 c blueberries
  • 1/2 c raspberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease two 9-inch baking pans with butter.  Combine the eggs and mild in a large bowl and mix together.  Stir in the butter, breaking up into little pieces as you mix.  Add the flour, salt, cinnamon and sugar and stir until just combined.  Gently fold the chocolate chips into the batter.

Divide the batter evenly between the greased baking pans.  Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes before reducing the heat to 350.  Bake for another 8-12 minutes, until pancakes are golden on top.  Remove pan from oven and let cool for a minute before removing from the pan.  Loosen gently with a spatula and transfer to a plate to serve.    

While the pancakes are baking, make the berry compote.  Combine water, fruit juice and flour in a small saucepan and whisk together.  Add the berries and set over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and cook for until the fruit is broken down and the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes.  Serve over the oven pancakes.  

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