On a Friday afternoon a couple of years ago, I was partaking in one of my favorite weekly traditions: watching a marathon of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives ("Triple D" for the super fans) on the Food Network. Any fan of the Food Network knows that every Friday starting at 2pm Guy Fieri, the host of Triple D, graces your TV set for about 12 hours straight. Depending on my relationship status, I would watch somewhere between 2 episodes and... 10 (maybe even more, ugh). I've been a huge fan of the show for as long as its been airing and I literally never get sick of watching it, even if I've already seen the episode numerous times. A lot of people don't really take Guy seriously or think that I'm being ironic by saying that I like him, but I genuinely think he's a great guy (pun intended) with an awesome personality.
My point of bringing up Triple D is that it is where I was introduced to the Dutch baby. In one episode, Guy is visiting a diner in Berkeley, California where they specialize in all kinds of pancakes but their signature is a souffle pancake. Guy had never heard of such a thing and asked the diner patrons if they had either.,, they hadn't but one diner said it had reminded her of a Dutch baby. Even though the souffle pancake looked pretty interesting, I immediately looked up what a Dutch baby was and found myself baking it that very same weekend. Thanks, Guy!
A Dutch baby, also known as a German pancake, is essentially a big puffed pancake that is cooked in the oven in a skillet. In my opinion, I actually think it is easier to make than a whole batch of pancakes on the stovetop - with a Dutch baby you don't have to keep an eye on it as much. What's also great about it is that you can customize it to your own liking with not only how you finish it (powdered sugar, mixed berries, jam, maple syrup. lemon juice, etc.), but you can also add fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, etc. to the batter just like you would with regular pancakes. I made a peach Dutch baby last summer and it was nothing short of amazing.
I wanted to give the recipe for a Dutch baby now because like I said in my previous post, I'm focusing on Mother's Day-friendly dishes this week. A Dutch baby is absolutely perfect if you are planning on throwing a brunch together for the mother figure in you life. Each Dutch baby is enough to serve about 4 people, so it would be a perfect sweet addition to a quiche, eggs Benedict, etc. Much like a pancake, this dish is best eaten immediately so I would only suggest making it if you plan on serving it straight from oven to table. But if you plan on trekking to your mom's house for the holiday, just make your mom go watch an episode of the Real Housewives or Triple D (we've come full circle here) and you'll be surprising her with a beautiful, puffy pancake by the time the show is over.
Note for the Dutch baby: in order to ensure that your pancake puffs up significantly, have your milk and eggs at room temperature. The best part of a Dutch baby (besides eating it) is pulling it out of the oven to see how much its risen. Each one is unique looks-wise, but always has the same delicious flavor.
Dutch Baby Pancake
Serves about 4
Recipe adapted from NYT Cooking
1/2 cup milk (whole or 2%), room temperature
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of nutmeg
2-3 tbsp. unsalted butter
Maple syrup, mixed berries, confectioners' sugar, jam, lemon juice, to finish (all good options, choose whatever you want!)
Preheat oven to 425°F.
In a bowl, whisk together the milk, flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and nutmeg. Set aside.
Place the butter in a skillet (10-12 inches in size) and put it in the oven until the butter is melted (careful not to let it burn).
Pull the skillet out and immediately pour the pancake batter over the melted butter and put back into the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pancake is golden brown.
Finish with your toppings of choice - maple syrup, berries, confectioners' sugar, jam/preserves, lemon juice, etc. Enjoy!