Once upon a time we had only 4 chickens. One was our rooster, Elvis, and the other three were our laying hens, Sassy, Wynonna, and Freja. Freja, (the special green egg laying chicken - purchased especially for this quality) doesn't lay, so really, only two of our 4 chickens actually produce eggs. During the summer and fall, this was fine and we had all of the eggs we needed. Then winter came and, well, lets just say we were lucky to get 2 eggs a week! As Scrapple recounted last week, this egg shortage is no longer an issue and now, instead of rationing our eggs, we find ourselves with the fortunate challenge of trying to find various ways to use all 5 dozen a week up!
Occasionally, that scene from Napoleon Dynamite comes to mind... You know, the one where the farmer has "lunch" set out for the handful of kids who worked the chickens that day? Egg salad sandwiches, hardboiled eggs, and raw egg sludge by the ladleful. Mmmm.
Nono - no worries of that around here! We've found some tasty ways to use them up, one of my favorites is this custardy oven pancake. It's not my recipe, I found the original in Sunset magazine - they also have it up on their website here, but I have a little tweak to the original to pass to you along the way. It started as a favorite for when we have guests in town and its deliciousness, simple and quick recipe, and no fuss presentation, have helped it quickly become a staple on these cold and windy winter days when the comfort of a warm and sweet brunch or breakfast-for-dinner is just what we're craving.
4 large eggs
5 1/2 tbsp. honey
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter, cut into chunks (you can get away with 2-3 tbs if you'd like)
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced (or use another favorite fruit) and 2 cups raspberries, divided
1/2 cup jam of your choice and juice from the lemon for zesting
(As wonderful as it would be to always have fresh berries on hand, I don't. You can swap out the fresh berries for frozen, or you can use the substitution I have added above of jam and fresh lemon juice. The lemon juice gives the jam the tartness you find in fresh fruit and is the perfect save for when you don't have time (or desire) to run out to the store for one ingredient!)
1. Turn on your oven to 425F and set an ovenproof 12" frying pan inside. I use our cast iron pan and it is perfect (never had any problems with sticking).
2. Whisk eggs, 1/4 cup of the honey, and the lemon zest in a medium to large bowl that will be easy to pour from.
3. When well combined, add salt, flour, and 1/4 cup milk and whisk until smooth, then whisk in remaining milk.
4. Purée 1 cup raspberries in a food processor until smooth. Strain to remove seeds. OR - Juice the lemon you've used for zest and combine the juice with 1/2 cup of the jam of your choice until smooth.
5. Remove pan from oven. Add butter slices and swirl until melted and slightly browned. Pour in the batterand then add either the purée or jam mixture over the batter in wide ribbons.
6. Move the pan to the oven, reduce heat to 400F and bake pancake until deep golden, around 30 minutes. 5. While the pancake is baking, combine strawberries and remaining 1 cup raspberries and 1 1/2 tbsp. honey in a bowl and let stand at least 10 minutes.
7. When poofy and golden, remove the pancake from the oven and let it cool for about 15 minutes. The pancake will fall and the custard center will set up nicely in that time.
8. Serve with the freshly sliced fruit or maple syrup.