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Traditionally, German pancakes are filled with apples. I've opted to use pears because, well, it's pear season and apples are so predictable.

As a sort of compromise I opted for Asian pears, which I've recently seen marketed as apple pears. They're pears, make no mistake, but their round shape and super crisp flesh are reminiscent of an apple.

Feel free to use any variety you like, but do opt for firmer rather than softer. If you use soft pears you'll end up with pear butter rather than tender bites of pear studding the pancake.

This makes an excellent fall dessert or brunch dish, especially if served with a side of bacon or sausage.

If you don't have an oven-safe skillet, feel free to cook the pears on the stove and then transfer them to a generously greased cake pan or baking pan before adding the batter and baking. The baking time will need to be adjusted a bit. I don't recommend using a glass baking dish because of the high baking temperature.

GERMAN PEAR PANCAKE

(Video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrhb7emZY-s)

Makes: about 6 servings

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

5 tablespoons white or brown sugar, divided use

Pinch salt

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup plain yogurt OR buttermilk

3 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon OR cardamom OR a combination

4 tablespoons butter

1 pound firm ripe pears, peeled, cored, and sliced into -inch wedges

Confectioners' sugar OR maple syrup, for serving

Heat oven to 500 degrees.

Whisk flour, 1 tablespoon sugar and the salt in medium bowl to combine. Whisk in milk, yogurt, eggs and vanilla until just combined; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon (or cardamom).

Heat butter in 10-inch, oven-safe skillet (I use cast iron) over medium heat until melted. Increase heat to medium high and add pears and cinnamon-sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until pears have softened just a bit and are beginning to caramelize, 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove from heat, pour batter over pears and immediately place pan in oven. Reduce heat to 425 degrees and bake until pancake is puffed and golden around the edges, about 15 minutes.

Cool pan on wire rack for 5 minutes, then carefully invert pancake onto serving plate. Dust with confectioners' sugar or drizzle with maple syrup and serve.

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