The elderflowers are out and summer feels like it’s really here. I find myself making more and more with elderflowers every year as they’re wonderfully abundant and so incredibly fragrant and delicious. They also keep their flavour really well with heat which I find isn’t the case with many of the other wild ingredients I use, especially flowers. I’ve made my annual batch of elderflower cordial, and I also had a go at making elderflower Turkish delight and it worked so well! If you’re curious then there’s a great River Cottage recipe by John Wright if you’re happy to use gelatine, or Fern Freud has created this great vegan version which works a treat too. I also love to add elderflowers to a batch of strawberry jam, baking these Lemon & Elderflower Fairy Cakes for picnics or parties, and to pair them with delicious, tart, tangy gooseberries! Even just dropping a few fresh gooseberries into the bottom of a glass before making an elderflower cordial and muddling everything together is such a wonderful refreshing combination on a summer’s day.
So what is a Dutch baby pancake? Put simply, it’s a cross between a sweet crêpe-style pancake and a Yorkshire pudding because it’s slightly thicker than a crêpe and rises at the sides, but it’s usually sweet. The recipe might look a little tricky and detailed as I’ve added a few crucial tips that I hope will help guide you to a great result, but once you’ve done it you’ll realise it’s actually really straightforward. You basically blend up the batter in a food processor, heat up the frying pan in the oven, melt the butter, pour the batter in and cook for 15 minutes. Easy! The trick is to keep the pan hot at all times and don’t allow it to cool, and not to open the oven once the pancake is cooking. That way you get a really impressive rise – it really is huge when it first comes out of the oven – but it then deflates down to give you a fluffy, soft pancake to slice up and cover with your favourite toppings.
For this recipe I’ve used my beloved gooseberry & elderflower combination in a simple compôte to top my Dutch baby pancake. A little bit of yoghurt on the side and you’ve got yourself a summer brunch worth boasting about. There are so many possibilities though, just like there are with any pancakes. You could try it with berries and yoghurt, maple syrup and bacon, stewed apple and rosehip syrup in the autumn or just simple lemon and sugar. Keep this recipe saved somewhere and enjoy whatever flavours the season offers you.
If you’re comfortable cooking over a campfire and have a Dutch oven, you could even make this recipe with some simple tweaks. The batter can be made ahead, as can the compôte. Again just remember that the key is to keep the pan hot at all times and not to open it while the pancake is cooking, so heat the pan before the batter goes in and carefully place hot coals or logs over the lid once cooking to keep everything toasty inside. The compôte can easily be made over a fire as well in a cast-iron pan and you’ll get some gorgeous fireside flavours infusing into your breakfast.
Dutch Baby Pancake with Gooseberries & Elderflowers Recipe
Makes one large pancake to serve 4-6 people
For the Dutch baby pancake:
- 65g plain flour
- 120ml milk
- 2 organic eggs
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 30g unsalted butter
- Icing sugar to dust
For the gooseberry & elderflower compôte:
- 350g gooseberries
- 50ml elderflower cordial
- 4 fresh elderflower heads
- 1-2 tbsp sugar (or more/less to taste)
- Yoghurt/cream/ice cream/custard
- More fresh elderflowers to garnish
- Blend all the ingredients for the pancake apart from the butter and icing sugar in a food processor with the blade attachment for 10 seconds. Give everything a stir and scrape down the sides to make sure no flour is getting stuck and blend again for another 10 seconds. Leave to stand while you do the next steps.
- Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/425°F and place an oven-safe frying pan in on a shelf in the middle. Remove any shelves above it to give your Dutch baby pancake space to rise. Place your gooseberries, elderflower cordial, fresh elderflowers and sugar in a baking dish and pop in the oven alongside the frying pan so they can start to cook while the oven heats up.
- Once the oven is hot, using oven gloves at all times, transfer the frying pan to the hob over a high heat and melt the butter. Swirl the pan (again keep those oven gloves on) to give the pan a good covering of butter all over the bottom and as far up the sides as you can. Take your gooseberries out of the oven at this point as you won’t be able to take them out once the pancake is in the oven cooking – if they need a bit longer then you can finish them in a saucepan.
- Give your batter another blitz for a few seconds, pour into the melted butter and immediately transfer back to oven. It’s crucial that the pan never gets a chance to start cooling otherwise you won’t get the rise you need. Cook for 15 minutes or until risen and golden and don’t open the oven until it’s done otherwise it will start to deflate.
- Remove from the oven and leave for a few seconds – it will deflate quite a lot once it’s out of the oven but don’t worry that’s normal and you’ll still have a lovely fluffy pancake. Dust with icing sugar and serve with the gooseberry & elderflower compôte and your choice of yoghurt, cream, ice cream or custard if you like.
Enjoy! Let me know what you think in the comments or over on Instagram by tagging me @plotandlane where I try to like and share all of your lovely creations!
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