We’re one week away from Easter weekend and I know a lot of us are getting excited about brunch! In France, Easter brunch habitually involves a freshly-baked brioche on the table, like a buttery Fallue in Normandie or the anise-flavoured Caccavellu in Corsica.
But this year, I wanted to bring back a yesteryear recipe known in French as a “Pascade”. This wonderful French-style Dutch Baby Pancake (which in France falls under the “crepes” category) is generously puffy and versatile, and ideal as a last-minute brunch idea.
The “Pascade” is a peasant household recipe hailing from Aveyron, traditionally made at Easter (“Paques” in French) in farms and homes of working families. Like many other Easter recipes, it’s meant to use up all the eggs left uneaten during the fasting-period of Lent (“Le carême” in French).
It is also an old-timey French regional recipe that was mostly unknown outside of Aveyron… until a few years ago, when new-wave French Chef and Aveyron-native, Alexandre Bourdas brought it to the top of the Parisian culinary scene.
In 2012, Bourdas opened up his Paris-based restaurant “La Pascade” introducing his favorite regional speciality to Parisians. He took on the challenge of revisiting the rustic pancake with more elegance and modernism, and instantly made it one of the most talked-about new Parisian eats.
His restaurant offers a gourmet take on this rustic puffy pancake, filled elegantly with all things deliciously creative: in savoury iterations such as “L’Originelle” (truffle oil and chives with a sprinkle of sugar) or enticing sweet desserts, such as the “Oh Les Figues, Oh Les Figues” (filled with figs, citrus, mint leaves and a dash of rum). Point being, if you’re visiting Paris anytime soon, make sure to eat at La Pascade!
Note: Last week, Chef Bourdas announced that he passed on his restaurant to his partner and friend of 30 years, Sebastien Pradal) – whom I am sure will continue to celebrate this regional treasure just as brilliantly.
This recipe for this French-style Dutch Baby Pancake is so simple and basic, you probably already have all the ingredients to make it (eggs, flour, sugar and milk)! Grab a wisk and a skillet (or a cast-iron pan that goes in the oven), and you’re all set. You can make it plain or add some cheese and herbs in the batter, just like I did it, for a deliciously savoury twist.
Baked in a sizzling skillet, the pascade really puffs a lot while in the oven and drops dramatically when cooling down. This creates upturned crispy golden edges, ready to receive all sorts of fillings (or simply to be torn apart with your fingers!).
Half-way between a pancake and a giant pop-over, this French-Style Dutch Baby Pancake is a natural on the brunch table. Its crispy edges and moist center make it an easy crowd-pleaser and it is so versatile! If you leave the batter plain, you can enjoy it with the fillings of your choice, be it sweet (fruits, whipped cream, melted chocolate, powdered sugar…) or savoury ( asparagus, sunny-side up eggs, ham…)
My little twist…
When the Pascade is still hot out of the oven, I like to lightly brush melted butter all over it … (it’s a bit of “gourmandise” like the French would say, but oh so good!).
If you try this French-style Dutch Baby Pancake let me know! Leave a comment or share a photo using #pardonyourfrench on Instagram.
3 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour (130g)
½ tsp salt
1 ¼ cup (300ml) whole milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter
Optional: 1 tbsp of freshly chopped chives and ¼ cup grated cheese (swiss cheese or white cheddar)
Preheat your oven to 425F
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, the flour and salt until you get a thick, sticky batter. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking continuously, until reaching a silky smooth batter. Optional: With a spatula, fold in the chives and grated cheese.
Place the butter in your skillet, and place the skillet in the oven. Once the butter is melted (but not brown yet, be carefull!), carefully remove the skillet from the oven, pour the batter in and place the skillet back in the oven.
Bake for 25 minutes, until the pancake is puffy and the edges lightly brown.
The pancake will collapse dramatically within a few minutes out of the oven.
Optional: Brush some extra butter all over the pascade when it is still sizzling hot.
Serve with fillings, or plain.