In this perfect oven pancake, cottage cheese lightens the batter and keeps it fluffy and moist as it bakes atop a pinwheel of caramelized pears. A generous pat of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup are the finishing touches on the easiest, most impressive pancake around.
Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Whisk the milk, vanilla, eggs and 4 tablespoons of the butter in a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until just combined. Fold in the cottage cheese with a rubber spatula. Transfer the mixture to a large liquid measuring cup for easy pouring.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat until bubbling. Arrange the pear wedges in the skillet in a pinwheel pattern, with the thin tips pointing out and the rounded ends meeting in the center. Cook to soften the pears slightly, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, cover and cook until the sugar starts to melt, about 2 minutes.
Uncover the skillet and pour in the batter, starting at the outside edge and working in a circular pattern towards the center. (This will keep the pears in place.) Continue to cook on the stovetop until the butter starts to bubble up around the edges, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, until set and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.
Carefully invert the pancake onto a serving dish. Serve with pats of butter and maple syrup for topping.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)
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