If everything had gone as planned, this breakfast would have never even come across our plates.
Rewind to Brian and I walking around downtown San Diego one Saturday morning, when we happened upon a tremendous number of people waiting in a line…for something. As we got closer, I saw that these would-be brunchers were waiting for some prized real estate in a small cafe that I’d never heard of (which really isn’t any feat – after nearly a year of living here in San Diego, I still feel like #1 Tourist when it comes to food). Positive that this place had to be fantastic, we absolutely decided to forgo the potentially amazing brunch and Yelp’ed our way to the nearest bagel chain, where we were able to get our mitts on coffee and bagels in under ten minutes. Seriously, who are these people that can wait forty-five minutes in line before they get their coffee, anyway?
But I didn’t forget the brunch that got away. So when we found ourselves searching out breakfast on a weekday and saw a three-person deep line, we had to. The coffee? Five-refills-amazing. But their true pièce de résistance comes in the form of a decadent puffed pancake, encased in syrupy cinnamon apple slices. SWOON.
I was hungry. I ordered it. Then I was super embarrassed when it arrived at our table because it was humongous and looked like it could have easily fed us both, as well as the couple at the next table over.
I loved it.
So when I promised to recreate it at home recently, I was flummoxed when I discovered we didn’t have apples. I had SWORN we had apples. Where were the apples? All eaten, apparently. I was pressed for time and pressed to find a plan B that would satisfy my puffed pancake craving. Cue, Iron Chef, breakfast-style.
We didn’t have apples, but we did have orange juice, milk, coconut flakes, and leftover egg whites. Good enough for me! This pancake was so good (and, no doubt, much healthier), that nobody even asked why, after all my raving, it didn’t even have apples (or cinnamon, for that matter).
Oven-Baked Coconut Almond Pancake
1/2 cup flour – I used a mixture of 1/4 c white whole-wheat and 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose, but your choice
dash of salt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup egg whites
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut*
Confectioners’ sugar, for decoration
1. Preheat oven to 425º F.
2. Whisk flour(s) and salt together in a medium-sized bowl.
3. Combine milk, OJ, egg whites, almond extract, and sugar together in a separate bowl.
4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and combine, but don’t overmix.
5. Stir in flaked coconut.
6. Pour mixture into oven-safe pan (I used cast iron) and bake for 15 minutes. Pancake will puff, then deflate quickly once it’s out of the oven:
7. Invert pancake onto plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Drizzle with maple syrup if you’d like (oh, you’d like). Cut into slices and serve immediately.
Yields 2 servings
*I realize this may be hard to find, so feel free to sub in the more readily available sweetened coconut flakes. Depending on your taste preference, you may wish to decrease or omit the added sugar.