Sunday, March 23, 2008

dutch baby pancake

Dutch Baby Pancake (large)

I have been wanting to make a Dutch baby for quite some time -- the idea of a breakfast food that puffs up spectacularly in the oven is just too much for me to resist. However, I try to keep caloriffic pancakes out of my regular baking repertoire, so this recipe has been sitting in my file for a while, just waiting for a special occasion for me to make it. And what better occasion than Easter? I'm sure Jesus would have totally been down with the warm, custardy center and cinnamony goodness of a Dutch baby, especially after spending three days in a tomb.

I picked this recipe after reading a whole host of rave reviews on it. It was definitely a good place to start, but I think I'll still explore some other recipes the next time a Dutch baby-making opportunity pops up. The 450 degree temperature caused the surface of my pancake to be quite crispy; I think you could reduce the heat to 400 to achieve a lightly crispy exterior that enhances, not takes away from, the delicious eggy center. I also thought the apple layer was a little on the bland side -- a problem that could be easily remedied with a few sprinkles of cinnamon while the apples are sauting. Despite these minor issues, I'll call my first Dutch baby experience a success. I think I'll try Martha Stewart's honey and cardamom version when Mom and Dad are out to visit in a few weeks.

[Note: If you like your pancakes on the sweeter side, add an additional tablespoon of granulated sugar to the batter.]

Dutch Baby Pancake
Adapted from a recipe from the LA Times, via Luisa at The Wednesday Chef
Serves 4 as a main dish

5 tablespoons butter
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
2 small apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons brown sugar, lightly packed
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
Pure maple syrup for serving

Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and whisk it together with the eggs, milk, granulated sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and flour in a medium-size bowl. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter with the apple slices in a 10-inch oven-proof skillet until the apples are sizzling and slightly cooked, 3-5 minutes. Pour in the batter. Sprinkle the top with brown sugar and bake until well-browned and puffed, 20-25 minutes. Invert onto a plate, dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve immediately with pure maple syrup.