On snowy days like this when I get to work from home or on a lazy Saturday morning I like to treat myself and make a Dutch baby. Ellen first told me about these puffy pancakes and waxed poetically about how good they were. It wasn't until I was in Ft. Lauderdale with Angela that I got myself to Original Pancake House and finally tried one. We also ordered their other specialty, the Apple Pancake, but compared to that sugar-laden monstrosity, the Dutch baby was clearly the superior.
The Dutch baby contains a lot of egg in its batter and is baked in the oven in a skillet so that it rises to heights never before seen by any other pancake and finally settles down into a custardy shell ready to be topped with powdered sugar, fresh lemon juice, and melted butter. I actually forgo the additional melted butter don't let that stop you from trying it.
When I went looking for the recipe on-line to try to make myself I found two delightful blogs about it: this one from Orangette, who is one of my favorite food writers, and this one from Steamy Kitchen which showcases her adorable sons making the simple recipe. Notice that the latter is called a German Oven Pancake; I believe the Dutch moniker arose from a bastardization of the word Deutsch, which is German for German (yay for 3 years of high school German!). I chose to make the latter simply because I don't usually have half and half in the fridge unless I am making ice cream. I use a Calphalon Everyday Pan for this; make sure that whatever pan or skillet you use is oven safe. In other words, if there are any plastic bits, don't put it in the oven!
With this recipe we come across the same issue as with the nian gao recipe, namely, how to mix raw eggs, milk, and melted butter together without either cooking the eggs with the melted butter or solidifying the melted butter with cold milk. My solution is to use very warm milk--not hot enough cook the eggs and at the same time not cold enough to solidify the butter.
Dutch Baby (adapted from here)
makes one pancake
1/3 cup of all-purpose flour, sifted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup milk
1 1/3 tablespoons melted butter
2/3 tablespoon sugar
1/6 teaspoon of salt
Melted butter (optional)
Melted butter (optional)
Preheat oven to 450 °F.
Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl. In a glass measuring cup, heat the milk in the microwave for 30 seconds so that it is very warm but not too hot. Add to the eggs. In the same measuring cup, melt the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add to the milk and eggs and stir. Add salt and sugar.
Gradually add flour to egg mixture, a spoonful at a time and whisk to incorporate until there are no lumps left.
Lightly spray a 9" oven-safe skillet with cooking spray. Pour batter in the skillet. Bake 12-18 minutes, just until the edges are golden. Check your pancake at the 12 minute mark.
Remove from oven and set on a trivet. Serve hot and top with lemon juice, powdered sugar, blueberries, and melted butter, if desired.
I've also seen posts where people have topped theirs with apples and cinnamon or caramelized pears, but I prefer the simple tartness of lemons and blueberries. Eating a Dutch baby requires some care, not only because the pan will be quite hot, but also because if you breathe in while bringing a piece into your mouth, you're likely to inhale quite a lot of powdered sugar.