Pork Sausage & Cherry Oven Pancake

Cherry Saussage Oven Pancake One of my favorite breakfast restaurants was Dutch-themed, specializing in oven pancakes called “pannekoekens”. Their egg-rich batter, nearly identical to that of popovers, gougeres, or Yorkshire pudding, was poured into pre-heated cast iron pans, baked at higher than normal temperatures. Together, moist batter and heat, created internal steam providing the lift and loft – same idea as popovers – the batter rising in a golden cloud above the pan.

Dirndl-skirted waitresses yelling, “Pannekoeken! Pannekoeken!”, raced against the dissipating steam, delivering the pancake, baking pan and all, so that we might witness the final seconds of pancake-extraordinary deflating into pancake-ordinary.

The center was a creamy, yet firm custard, tender without being doughy, and a slight “toothiness” to the bite. The outer crust had the same texture as popovers – really great popovers – that when ripped open, layer after layer of tender, flaky moist dough begs to be pulled apart, and placed on the tongue to melt away.

Tender Flaky Crust The pancakes offered were sweet – usually, apples, cinnamon, butter and enough sugar to keep a person up for two days – or savory – sausage and bacon with a Denver omelet collection of sauteed vegetables, topped with Hollandaise sauce.

Two decades and as many recipes later, I think this recipe is as tweaked as it can be, resulting in the flavors and textures, including the pull-apart layers of tender crust, that I loved. It’s easy to change this from sweet to savory, simply by adding, or not adding sugar.

This winter, we have been favoring the savory combination which combines fruit and meat, after the traditions of French and Moroccans. Mixing the batter and refrigerating it overnight, (classic Nourishing Traditions technique) gives me time the next morning to prepare the meat and fruit combinations. This morning’s choices were between pineapple and organic, pastured bacon, blueberries and slivers of organic, pastured ham, apples and freshly-made wild Idaho-hunted venison sausage, or dark Morello cherries and freshly-made sage pork sausage.

Sometimes I use a Le Creuset Enameled Ceramic Rectangular, or Le Creuset Buffet Casserole, or, evenly divide the batter between two Pyrex 6001009 9-1/2-Inch Glass Pie Plate, each containing a different meat and fruit combination.

Preheating the pans, as well as not skimping on the amount of fat, are the two most important steps that will make or break this recipe. Most recipes recommend butter, but it has a lower smoker point – the point in which liquids turn to a vapour – of 350°F. I prefer duck fat, which has a higher smoke point of about 375°F to 400°F, depending on the fat’s water content. In addition to a higher smoke point, duck is loaded with rich flavor, a centuries-old favorite for those who love good food. It’s not easy to find, so I regularly purchase ducks – fresh or frozen – and render the fat myself.

Cherry Sausage Slice Cherry & Sausage Savory Oven Pancake

I saute 1-lb of sage ground pork and 1-medium diced red onion. This makes enough for 2 9×13 size oven pancakes. If only one is needed, simply refrigerate the remainder, and use within 5 days.

Batter Ingredients:

  • 6 pastured, local-fresh organic eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups grass-fed raw whole milk or half-and-half
  • 1 cup all-purpose unbleached King Arthur unbromated flour or finely ground/sifted whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 T organic, raw sugar
  • 1 T organic, fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt salt

Topping & Filling

  • 1/2 lb sage ground organic, pastured pork sausage
  • 1 small diced organic sweet onion, organic red onion, or 1 4-inch section slivered leek

  • dash of sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 24.7 oz jar dark Morello cherries in lightly sweetened syrup or rehydrated
  • 2 tsp. organic corn starch mixed with 1 T cold water; set aside

Directions

  1. Whisk all batter ingredients together, refrigerate over-night
  2. Remove batter from refrigerator at least one hour prior to baking.
  3. When ready to assemble pancake, preheat oven to 425°F.
  4. Drain cherries, reserving liquid in a small saucepan; set aside
  5. Lightly saute and brown sausage and onions in small fry pan; add duck or bacon fat as needed to keep meat from sticking. Do not over-saute; onions should still have some firmness.
  6. Add half jar of drained cherries to the meat and onion mixture, lightly salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Preheat empty baking vessel for 5 minutes.
  8. Remove pan from oven and add 4T duck fat, bacon fat or ghee along with sausage, onion and cherry mixture
  9. Return pan to oven for 2-minutes
  10. Remove pan and carefully pour the pancake batter over the meat and fruit.
  11. Return pan to oven and back 23-minutes.
  12. While pancake is baking, make cherry sauce; heat cherry sauce to simmer; mix water with cornstarch, mix thoroughly, and stir into simmering cherry sauce. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly; allow to boil for 1-minute. Remove from heat.
  13. Pour cherry sauce over pancake.