Product Review: Pancake Puff Pan

Late night infomercials can sometimes be ridiculously tempting. No matter how useless or flimsy the product is, somehow at 1 am, it's easy to convince yourself that you need it. Most of the time, by morning you've realized the error of your thinking.

But as embarrassing as it might be to admit, after watching ads for the Pancake Puff Pan, we didn't have those same morning realizations. Instead we kept thinking about how soft and fluffy a round pancake must be. We imagined the lemon curds and chocolate ganaches we'd fill them with. Any any thoughts of "no single use gadgets in our kitchen!" were banished by convincing daydreams of savory hors d'oeuvres and intriguing combinations.

But would it really work? That was the question that was finally answered this morning, after we were gifted the Pancake Puff Pan by a friend.

An extensive testing process (read: several batches of basic pancakes, some of which were then filled with raspberry jam) yielded promising early results.

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The heavy cast iron pan has 7 divots, and there's no need to pre-season. Pour in your batter, wait for it to brown and start to bubble on the top, then use the included wooden sticks to gently turn each puff over. A few more minutes, and they were ready. Pretty easy, once we got the hang of how much batter to use (nearly full) and how to flip the puffs (gently, and quickly.) We filled up the included injector gun with raspberry jam, and filled them without any fuss or mess.

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The puffs were golden brown, and soft. Just as we'd imagined, they were not unlike a freshly made doughnut, yet without the frying and extra fat.

There were some negatives:

• The pan is quite small. It's only the size of a salad plate, which means that one batch makes only a large serving for one person. Those hors d'oeuvres we dreamed about will take quite a long time to put together.

• The accompanying directions are pretty brief. Our first puff was disappointingly small, and not brown enough, because we'd followed the products terse directions. Though the commercials show using firmer ingredients like sausage in the middle, there are no directions for doing so. A injecter gun helps you add jelly, but sausage will need a bit of trial and error.

For those of you who are looking at this pan and saying it looks familiar, it's not unlike the dutch aebelskiver pan. We've heard that many of those pans need to be pre-seasoned, and can be tricky to remove the pancakes without sticking.

Whether you call them pancake puffs or aebelskiver, we think these things are delicious!

Related: Word of Mouth: Aebleskiver