This Dutch baby would be so good on one of the Christmas holiday mornings. You know, one of those magazine mornings where the family is all in cute pajamas and slowly sipping coffee as they sit around the beautifully decorated tree listening to Christmas music from St. Martin In The Fields.
It would also be good if your mornings are of the crazier variety, with everyone dashing around like mad, bumping into each other as they try to wrap the last gifts before it's time to open them while someone rushes to the store because you're out of milk. (This would be more like my house.) This recipe might bring a tiny moment of "ahhhh" to those in your house. It really is easy if you are the one cooking it. And the one in charge of wrapping boxes. It also would be a nice treat day-after-Christmas treat—which might be a more realistic possibility.
Mommy handed me a newspaper when I was there a few weeks ago. She had talked about needing a cast iron skillet and there was a huge article about a cast iron cooking in the paper. (Christmas hint?) The recipe for Dutch Baby was on a sidebar. Dutch Baby is sometimes called a German pancake. It's basically a puffy egg dish, that's somewhere between a pancake and a popover. I've watched these being made on a couple of cooking shows and read about them on blogs and everyone talked about how easy they are to make.
When I got home I dusted off my cast iron skillet (yes, literally had to wash the dust off) and told Daddy-O we were having a treat for breakfast. Fingers crossed that it would be good because I never made one. Or, even eaten one. It was delicious! And yes, it was easy.
I will tell you that I followed the newspaper recipe exactly—and burned the butter. (My oven takes a long, long time to heat up, so that might be why my butter burned.) I carefully wiped the very hot pan out with paper towels and added more butter and kept going. So THIS recipe has been adjusted to avoid that. You just add the butter and let it melt right before you pour the batter in.
The secret to this puffy pancake is having the pan very hot. After we enjoyed our breakfast, I took some time to look up other recipes to see how hot their oven was (after my butter burning issue.) The temperatures varied from 375 to 450. One recipe heated the pan on the stovetop, added the butter and melted it before pouring in the batter and baking it. Some used 2 eggs while others called for 6 eggs. So it sounds like if you mess something up, it will probably still work.
It might be fun to try some of the different versions to see what the difference is. But I know this one is good. It would be a great brunch recipe during your holiday weekends.
BE CAREFUL as you handle the extremely hot heavy pan! I have a gas stove, so the metal grates are fine for the hot pan. Make sure you have a safe place to set it when it comes out of the oven. And NEVER EVER use a damp kitchen towel as a pot holder. You will have a serious steam burn in the blink of an eye. Before you start be sure you have dry pot holders and a trivet or other safe place to set the pan down. Safety first!
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), cut into pieces
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt
powdered sugar for garnish
maple syrup for serving
Put a 10-inch cast iron skillet into oven on the middle rack and preheat to 450 degrees.
While oven is heating, pour eggs into a blender and blend on high until eggs are light and foamy. Remove the blender lid and add the milk, flour, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Blend again until ingredients are completely incorporated.
When oven reaches temp, put the butter pieces into the skillet and let melt. When butter is melted (about a minute,) remove hot pan from oven, pour batter into pan, and return to oven immediately.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and puffy. When Dutch baby is done, use an offset spatula to lift it onto a cutting board. Cut into wedges. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup.
Serves 4 to 6
This dish is all puffy when it first comes out of the oven, but it quickly collapses. Not to worry. That's what happens.
Many recipes also include some type of cooked fruit sauce to serve with the Dutch baby. I know that would be delicious. But I didn't have any berries to do that. So we used a little maple syrup. It was so good, I can't imagine doing it another way now. But should I have berries on hand the next time, maybe I'll try that, too.