Saturday, February 9, 2013

dutch babies and turning 3

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to share a house in Vancouver with a family from Atlanta, Georgia.

Joy introduced me to the joys of cast-iron skillets and southern food. There was fried chicken and fried green tomatoes and a breakfast food I had never even heard of: the Dutch baby.

But after one bite, I was soon begging for the recipe.

The thing I love about Dutch babies is that the process is just as fun as the final result (which is very funny looking).

First, you heat your oven almost as high as it will go, to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. While you're doing that, you've got your cast-iron skillets in there, getting sizzling hot.

Because you haven't woken up enough to juggle too much at once, you get all the ingredients out. (Some of you might already do this for every recipe. I am not so disciplined and always think I can "catch up.")

Next, you take a break. You pour yourself a glass of orange juice (or apple, if that's what you've got) and you drink it.

Once you've had your juice, you're ready to get back to cooking. Basically, you just mix all those ingredients together, melt a copious amount of butter in those hot(!) skillets and pour your batter in.

The batter looks thin and unremarkable, but you hardly notice because you're still rubbing the sleep out of your eyes . . . and you know what's coming next. You slide your hot skillets into the oven and then  this is seriously part of the recipe as Joy told it to me  you pull up a chair in front of the oven and you watch the Dutch babies poof up.

Sitting in front of the oven is probably the best part (well, I guess except for eating). You just drink your juice and think about the day and peer through that oven door to look at the babies' progress.

Can you see it growing?

After about 15 or 20 minutes, your Dutch babies have grown into giant, crispy pancakes with their own mountain ranges and silky innards. At this point, you really should call someone over who will be properly amazed at what you've already done this morning.

Then you quickly sprinkle a bit of icing sugar on top and slice them into big pieces. Once you've got a now-fallen-but-no-less-delicious Dutch baby on your plate, you squeeze lemon over it.

And that's all. It's so easy. Just eat it and have a good day. Oh, and if it's your birthday, you can celebrate: dollop of cream has just turned three!

P.S. Many thanks to the lovely Joy for sharing this recipe with me. Speaking of whom, you might like to see Joy's blog. She's a creative director and stylist and creates the most beautiful worlds . . .

one year ago: gumdrop cake
two years ago: bacon-wrapped dates with almonds and olives and whisky marmalade (could someone please tell me where to find Seville oranges in Edmonton?)
three years ago: muesli and lemon loaf

dutch babies
from joy
bakes 2 dutch babies in 8  10 inch skillets,* serving 4  5**

4 eggs
1 c. milk
1 tbsp. neutral oil (such as canola or grapeseed)
1 c. flour
     or gluten-free:
     48 g. pure oat flour
     36. g. potato starch
     36 g. tapioca starch
     20 g. corn starch
     1 tsp. guar or xanthan gum
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
a good grating of nutmeg (let's say more than 1/8 tsp.)
about 5 tbsp. butter
 2 lemons, cut into wedges for squeezing
2 tbsp. icing sugar for sprinkling
(optional: glass of juice)

Put your two cast-iron skillets in the oven. Turn the oven on to between 425 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit. (I have a good oven right now and I like 440. But I know not all ovens will be that exact and it doesn't really matter, as long it's really hot.)

Get all the ingredients out.

Have a glass of orange or apple juice, whatever you have on hand.

Beat the eggs for one minute, but no longer. Slowly add the milk. Slowly add the oil. Slowly add the flour.

Stir in the vanilla, and then the cinnamon and nutmeg.

Put on your oven mitts (yes, both of them). Carefully, take out the hot skillets and put them on the top of the stove. Drop about 3 tbsp. of butter in your larger skillet and a bit less in your slightly smaller skillet. Watch it melt. Wearing your oven mitts, tilt the pan a bit so that it's coated with butter.

Pour in the thin batter right away. Don't worry about the melted butter that might sneak up along the side and over the batter  it's all good.

Wearing your oven mitts, carefully slide each skillet back into the hot oven.

Pull up a chair and your glass of juice and watch them poof up. Bake for about 15  20 minutes, until they are mountainous and browned and the sides have pulled away from the skillet.

Wearing your oven mitts, take the skillets out of the oven and set them on a rack. Call someone over to see what you've made. Try not to worry when it all falls down (in about 30 seconds). Sprinkle each Dutch baby with icing sugar through a fine-mesh sieve. Slice and serve with lemon wedges. Eat immediately.

*Yes, you must use a cast-iron skillet. I've tried a stainless steel skillet and it just didn't crisp as well.
**This recipe halves perfectly.


  1. awww......this made me smile! and want to make some dutch babies! :) I can't believe its been 3 years--congrats, Stephanie!!!

    1. Thanks, Joy! I know -- I wish Atlanta weren't so far away and we could cook up some dutch babies together for breakfast again . . . (:

  2. I looove Dutch babies! But I am eager to try your gluten free version. I learned to make Dutch babies from one of my childhood friends...yum!!

  3. Thanks, Laura! I hope you like the GF version . . . it took a little while to perfect! At first, my attempts just came out sandy and flat, but then I found this combination of flours and I think it's just as good as with wheat. Let me know what you think!