November 18, 2009

Dutch Baby Love

Growing up in Northern Idaho, my hands down favorite dinner was the big poofy golden oven pancakes my mom called Dutch Babies. I thought I was the only kid in the world who's mom (and dad, too since they both made them) knew how to make such deliciousness. I mean, pancakes were all well and good, but Dutch Babies were glorious.

Later I realized we were not the only family who made dutch babies. In fact, I found to my dismay you could even get them in restaurants for goodness sake. They appeared by any number of names. German pancakes, Oven pancakes, Dutch pancakes, Even Yorkshire pudding is really a dutch baby made with beet fat instead of butter. But even after finding that they were not unique to my family, I continued to adore them. What's not to love. Eggs, milk, flour and tons of butter. And the toppings are endless. Jam, syrup, powdered sugar if you're feeling sweet. Bacon and gravy, anything and gravy, even just a slathering of more butter or a sprinkle of salt if savory's your thing. It's all pretty much fantastic.

I still make them, although not for dinner as much as I'd like to. Will doesnt quite get my passion for them, but the kids love them, and so they live on as a favorite dish.

The idea is pretty simple, although I've seen version that are very fancy indeed with vanilla or herbs or caramelized apples at the bottom. I'm sure those are all great, but for me, the simple way will always be best.

for a large cast iron pan

stick 1/2 stick of butter (I know I know, you can use less, but it wont be as good) into the pan and stick the pan in a 400 degree oven until the butter is totally melted and just beginning to brown. Then beat together

2 cups of flour
2 cups of milk
4 eggs

until you have a nice smooth batter. When the pan is ready CAREFULLY pull it out of the oven, pour in the batter and pop it back in as quickly as you can without burning your hand. For a small pan halve the recipe. Cast iron really gives the best results but any heavy oven safe frying pan will do. I've even done them in a Le Creuset and it was delicious.

Turn the oven light on so you can watch the show, in about 30 minutes the pancake will be puffy and golden, take it out as soon as it's beginning to brown all over. The poof will fall as the steam escapes. If your pan is well seasoned it should just pop out onto a cutting board in one piece. If it doesn't, just cut right in the pan and pull out the wedges, serving with the toppings of your choice. If you want to get adventurous, add a few breakfast sausages to the pan and let them cook before adding the butter. The sausages will stand up on end when the batter rises. This version, in case you are wondering, is basically what Toad in the Hole is. Which kids, by the way, find hilarious.