Thursday, July 30, 2015

Life of a Dog - Panhandling Pancakes

A house without a dog
With a dog.

Abby had her one year gotcha day not long ago.  As many rescues are, she was quite shy the first couple of weeks but is now is simply a happy lab playing with her toys, retrieving a ball, the tail thump thump thump against the couch when I come into the room. She is very well behaved, not chewing on anything that's not a chew toy, obeying basic commands and learning new ones each week. She's been allowed on the bed to sleep but prefers the cool surface of the leather sofa or her big poofy Orvis dog bed.
She does well in her harness and likes her rides in the vehicles to visit friends or run a quick errand while one of us stays in the car with her. The "exploding retriever" experience of our first trip north is but a memory (hey, we've all gotten car sick)  On the last  trip home from she laid quietly on the seat snoozing the whole time but for one time I turned on some Classic Country and she sat up with an irritated look that said "they're playing LeAnn Rimes - if she yodels I'm going to start barking". I turned it off.

The only other non snooze moment was a stop to stretch legs and get a Chick Fil a. Like her Mom, Abby loves Chick Fil a, the smells from the bag setting her tail on high rpm.
Like all labs,  Abby does like her food, going into a full body wag each morning as I get up to feed her a bowl of kibble.

We are looking forward to a few days off at home, suitcase unpacked, and pancakes to be made  I think back to the LAST bath I made, a little experiment.

With everything quiet the last time I was home, Sunday called for pancakes, but the big puffy baked ones, of which I'd not made one in a couple of years and had no idea where the recipe went to. There was one in this little book of Swedish recipes I picked up out West, though and I thought I'd try that  In mixing it up, the proportions seemed a bit off, and the amount of batter seemed like too much for the size pan recommended and the recommended temp a bit high. But I tried it anyway thinking, "it's a published cookbook, how can it be wrong".   But I said that about the "overnight, no knead yeast bread" recipe I got from a well known website. And we know how THAT loaf turned out
The pancake was assembled and after 45 minutes  I had what looked like a giant pan of hot jello in the oven, even after cooking an extra 15 minutes. I'm not sure how the edges can be  almost burned dark brown AND raw inside, but they were.  I poked it with a spatula and it rippled and growled. I've had science experiments that looked less toxic.
I disposed of it like any good bio-hazard.

Abby played dead to avoid having to act like she wanted to try it. . . .
while my husband started looking for cold cereal (or the nearest exit).

I double checked the recipe and I'd made it just as directed.  Oh well, that's what I get for following the rules as opposed to my usual cooking style of "Watch this!" with the fire extinguisher handy.

Not willing to admit defeat, I tried again, this time just winging it, Husband patiently waiting, as anyone that hangs around someone that likes to experiment with stuff, often does. Since an oven pancake is sort of a cross between a pancake and a popover, I adapted my standard popover recipe to the bigger pan and added some Cardamom and Lemon Zest. Melting four Tablespoons of butter in the pan, getting it all nice and hot before pouring the batter in, didn't hurt, either.

Ta Dah!  Puffy Oven Pancake. (recipe in the comments)

This is what the doctor ordered.  It was perfect, with a tender crunch to the edge, and soft and fragrant in the middle.
Served the traditional way with powdered sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
I do think the second try was worth the wait, as my faithful lab assistant seemed to agree.  For yes, she begged for a piece and I gave in.


  1. Puffy Oven Pancake (German Style)

    4 small or 3 jumbo eggs at room temperature (leave out about half an hour)
    1 and 1/4 cup whole milk at room temperature
    1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 generous teaspoon lemon zest
    1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
    4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

    Preheat oven to 375 F.

    In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, melt butter in skillet in oven or on stove top. Use a brush to get some of the melted butter up the sides or simply spray sides and top with a little non stick cooking spray.

    Whisk eggs and milk until fluffy. Add salt, vanilla, lemon zest and cardamom. Whisk in flour until mostly smooth (may still have some small lumps), about 20-30 seconds. Do not over mix.

    Pour batter into warm pan and place in oven.

    Bake 30-32 minutes. When edges are puffed and brown and center does not look "wet" remove from oven remove from pan immediately so it doesn't get soggy.

    Serve with powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice (try it!) or the usual pancake toppings.

  2. Hari OM
    Gonna be giving that a go!!! YAM xx

  3. Hey Abby!
    Wow, it's so cool that you get to go for rides! I love that too. Nothing better than a yummy snack from a fast food joint. BOL OMD that pancake looks delish! Glad you got a taste and I can tell by your slurper that it was good.
    Grr and Woof,
    Sarge, All American Mutt

  4. Mum just bought a new wireless printer so she can print from the laptop. As soon as she gets it set up, I want her to print out your recipe!!! She really has not cooked much lately (in fact Mum boasts she has not used the oven since we moved here 8 years ago -- the microwave has a conventional/convection oven that she uses) and has only used the stove top when people stayed with her and THEY cooked on the stove top!!!! She uses the kuerig or electric kettle for hot water and the microwave for everything ele!!

    Toodle pip


  5. Looks like it was lab-tested and approved!

  6. That looks pretty good! How many paws did Abby give it? Happy Belated GOTCHA Day Abby!!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

    PS - Watch for the addition of our "BAR" page on Wednesday so the latest information on the Blogville Awesome Retreat in June 2016!

  7. The pancake was delish! Mom got called to work, she will drop me off at dad's then not sure where she's going but I heard her say "Une bière, s'il vous plaît."

  8. Our Jessy human would call that pancake a "Dutch Baby." She makes them often and fills them with different types of goodies.

  9. many thanks for a tasty recipe... while reading I nearly could smell it... a day started with this pancakes must be a good one, right?
    easy rider

  10. Our mom says she has never heard of that kind of pancake. We don't have a cast iron skillet so we probably won't get to try one though. That sure looked tasty.

  11. In a Tx cookbook I ran across a "Flaffle" a German Pancake. This is a family favorite and one I make for company and is always a hit. 9x13 pan in 425 oven. Heat with 1/3 Cup butter while mixing 4 eggs in blender at high speed for 1 minute add 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour and 1 Tablespoon sugar. Whirl for 1 minute and pour into hot pan and bake for 20 min. This is a never fail pancake with lemon & powdered sugar. Puffs way up and looks wonderful coming from oven. I have added vanilla and nutmeg a time or two but mostly cook as written. Enjoy.


Welcome to The Book of Barkley. This blog was created for more memories of Barkley as well as updates on Abby the Senior rescue Lab,who we adopted in 2014.

Stop in and say hello. 100% of book sales are donated to animal rescue organizations across the U.S. and Canada and Search Dog Foundation. If you have a non-profit animal organization and would like autographed copies of any of my three books for auction fundraisers or a blog post featuring your organization please contact me at