Preheat the oven to 220°C.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, sugar, milk, vanilla, and butter. Whisk in the flour to make a smooth batter. Set aside.
Heat a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and brush the inside with the shortening. Pour in the batter and bake for 15 minutes.
Lower the oven to 175°C. and continue baking until puffed and golden brown, about 13 to 15 minutes more. Run a knife around the edge of the skillet. Sift the icing sugar over the pancake. Serve immediately in the skillet with maple syrup, marinated berries, or glazed apples and pears.
For the berries: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, citrus zests, and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer very gently until syrupy, about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the citrus juices. Combine the berries in a bowl. Strain the warm syrup over the berries and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Serve.
Yield: 6 servings
For the apples and pears: Peel, core, and cut both the apples and pears into 3/4-inch wedges. In a medium bowl, toss the fruit with the lemon juice.
Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sugar, orange zest, and cinnamon sticks and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the fruit, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, shaking the pan frequently, until glazed, about 10 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the orange juice, and cook until the fruit is easily pierced with a paring knife, about 1 minute more. If desired, add the Calvados. If cooking on a gas burner, carefully tip the pan toward the flame to flambe the alcohol; if cooking over an electric element, hold a long match near the mixture. Swirl the pan over the heat until the flame subsides. Serve warm.
Yield: 6 servings
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