♫ Cooking to Built on Glass by Chet Faker
I love going out for weekend brunch, and I’m lucky to live in a city with no shortage of great places to eat. But, there’s really something wonderful about brunching at home. Actually, a few things–you can skip the long line, listen to your own music, wear comfy clothes…and, impress your friends by making these deceivingly easy mini German pancakes. There are a few different names for these; some call them mini dutch babies or pop-over muffins. I frankly don’t care what they’re called, they’re just really darn good.
These mini German pancakes are light and fluffy, yet have enough structure to handle just about any kind of topping. I first discovered these when trying out an Apple-Calvados mini pancake recipe by Bobby Flay. With strawberries in season, I decided to try out my own version with a little added bourbon kick. While they puff up during baking, the mini pancakes quickly sink down in the middle as they cool. This creates a nice little pocket for the Strawberry-Bourbon compote.
Having friends over for brunch? This recipe is super practical for groups. Since the mini pancakes cook in the muffin pan, they’ll be ready by the dozen. You can also save time the morning of by preparing the compote the night before.
If only you could smell the steam coming off this compote. A lot of compote recipes call for Grand Marnier, an orange-flavored liqueur (which I never have at home). This inspired me to think of other liqueurs that might give the compote a similar kick. I always have bourbon in my kitchen, as do most people these days, so I decided to give it a try. And it was delicious.
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Cooking spray
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon orange zest
- Mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water until dissolved.
- In a medium saucepan, add chopped strawberries, water, and sugar. Over medium-high heat, stir until the mixture begins to boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Add the cornstarch liquid to the saucepan and stir continuously. Continue cooking for roughly 5 minutes, or until it thickens. Note that it will thicken slightly as it cools.
- Remove from heat and stir in the bourbon, vanilla, and orange zest. Let sit until ready to serve with pancakes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Generously coat the inside of muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a blender, mix milk, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Add flour and salt; quickly pulse the blender. Then add the melted butter, and blend until batter is smooth. Measure ¼ cup of batter to pour into each muffin cup.
- Bake pancakes for 15-18 minutes, or until golden on top. Remove from oven and let cool on a baking rack. The pancakes will noticeably deflate and create a cup for the topping.
- Assemble by gently removing pancakes from the muffin pan, and generously spoon the compote over the pancakes.