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These big puffy pancakes are as easy as they are spectacular … |

These big puffy pancakes are as easy as they are spectacular …

As soon as the server elbows through the kitchen door and begins to wend her way through the pancake-house rush, you can’t take your eyes off what she is ferrying. It is an eggy crater the size of a dinner plate, with tender, fat-tire curves and a sweet aroma the Pied Piper only wishes he could deploy.

It’s called a Dutch baby on the menu, and the reason is far from apparent. No matter; it demands immediate, before-it-deflates eating, topped with a compote or a shower of confectioners’ sugar at least.


Who could make such a thing? You can, in short order. The batter ingredients are few and come together in a blender. Pour smooth, into a hot buttered pan, and the batter will shimmer and bubble in the oven until the moment of liftoff. Then, the pancake curls at the edges that rise above the rim, accompanied by an occasional mogul at the center.

It is an old recipe, and its history skews sweet. Pancakes in the Dutch Manner as presented in the 1998 cookbook “The Sensible Cook: Dutch Foodways in the Old and New World” resembled spiced (flat) crepes, while the topography gets much closer to Dutch baby territory in recipes for German puffed apple pancakes made hundreds of years ago. The origin of Dutch could be “Deutsch,” and the dish’s popularity in America is due in part to Sunset magazine articles dating back more than 50 years.

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But the Dutch baby is versatile enough to step toward savory. In other words, have your way with it. Spice up the batter. Use the pancake as a vessel for fresh vegetables and greens. Melt thin rafts of cheese on it and cut it into snack wedges. Old World becomes modern.

There are but a few rules to keep in mind: The batter should be well blended; any added bits that have weight, such as diced pancetta or bell pepper pieces, may impede the rise, The pan and its fat must be h-o-t. The puffed Dutch baby needs to sit in the oven for a few minutes after the timer goes off, to improve the odds it will retain its structure longer.

It’s as easy as it is spectacular. It can be breakfast, dinner or dessert. Isn’t it time you rediscovered the magic or give it a go?

Blender Dutch Babies

4 to 6 servings

These puffy, eggy pancakes are about the most versatile, quick and easy things you can make in a skillet – and if you don’t have the 8-inch skillets called for here, you can bake all the batter in a single 9- or 10-inch ovenproof skillet, or use a pie plate.

Here, the batter is barely sweetened and flavored, with optional toppings that work for breakfast and dessert.

The eggs need to be close to room temperature order to maximize their rise in the oven; see the quick technique for this, below.

Adapted from “The Minimalist Kitchen: The Practical Art of Making More With Less,” by Melissa Coleman (Oxmoor House, April 2018).

For the pancakes

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup whole milk

1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the optional filling

1 cup frozen cherries, preferably tart

1 heaping tablespoon granulated sugar

For the optional topping (your choice, or a mix)

Plain Greek yogurt

Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

Maple syrup

Toasted slivered almonds

Granola

Confectioners’ sugar

For the pancakes: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the eggs in a bowl of warm tap water for 5 minutes, or until they are close to room temperature.

Divide the butter between two 8-inch cast-iron or ovenproof skillets; transfer to the oven. Watch closely so the butter melts, but do not let it brown or burn.

Beat the eggs in a blender on medium-high speed for 5 seconds, until frothy, then add the flour, milk, granulated sugar (to taste), salt and vanilla extract. Blend on low speed to incorporate, then blend on medium-high for 5 seconds.

Remove the hot pans from the oven and swirl the melted butter so it coats the sides. Immediately pour in the batter, dividing it evenly between the pans; bake (middle rack) for 13 to 15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown at the edges, which should curve and rise above the rim. Turn off the oven, and let them sit there for 5 minutes. This will help the pancakes keep their structure.

Meanwhile, make the optional filling: Combine the frozen cherries and granulated sugar in a small saucepan; cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until juices coat the back of a spoon. Turn off the heat.

Use a thin spatula to dislodge the Dutch babies from their pans; they should slide out. Cut into halves or wedges. Top each portion with some of the stewed cherries and an optional topping or two, if desired. Serve right away.

Nutrition | Per serving (based on 6): 170 calories, 6 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 110 mg cholesterol, 140 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar

Cauliflower Jalapeño Dutch Baby

2 to 3 servings

This is a delightfully eggy way to upgrade a salad or veggie bowl. Feel free to use olive oil instead of butter.

From deputy Food editor/recipes editor Bonnie S. Benwick.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (may substitute olive oil)

2 large eggs, at room temperature (see NOTES)

1/2 cup flour

2 tablespoons harissa

1/2 cup regular or low-fat milk

Pinch kosher salt

2 cups white or green cauliflower florets, blanched (see NOTES)

1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

Fresh, crunchy sprouts, such as a store-bought mix of lentils, green peas, adzuki beans

Handful cilantro leaves

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the butter in an 8-inch cast-iron or ovenproof skillet; transfer to the oven. Watch closely so the butter melts, but do not let it brown or burn.

Beat the eggs in a blender on medium-high speed for 5 seconds until frothy, then add the flour, harissa, milk and salt. Blend on low speed to incorporate, then blend on medium-high for 5 seconds to form a smooth batter.

Remove the hot pan from the oven and swirl the melted butter so it coats the sides. Immediately pour in the batter; bake (middle rack) for 13 to 15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown at the edges, which should curve and rise above the rim. Turn off the oven, and let sit for 5 minutes. This will help the pancake keep its structure.

Meanwhile, toss together the blanched cauliflower florets, jalapeño, sprouts and cilantro in a bowl.

As soon as you remove the Dutch baby from the oven, top with cauliflower mixture, then drizzle with the oil, if desired. Use a thin spatula to dislodge the pancake; it should slide right out. Serve right away.

NOTES: To bring eggs to room temperature, place them (whole, in the shell) in a bowl of warm tap water for 5 minutes.

To blanch the cauliflower, prepare a bowl of water and ice cubes. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the cauliflower florets and cook/blanch for about 30 seconds, then immediately drain and transfer to the water bath to cool. Pat dry before using.

Nutrition | Per serving (based on 3, using low-fat milk): 290 calories, 12 g protein, 29 g carbohydrates, 15 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 150 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar

Everything Spice Dutch Baby With Brie

4 servings

This comes together almost as fast as the assembly of a toasted bagel with cream cheese. Cut into wedges, it can serve as fun hors d’oeuvres.

For convenience, feel free to use a store-bought Everything-Spice blend instead of making your own, as directed here. This can also be baked in a pie plate.

Adapted from “The Minimalist Kitchen: The Practical Art of Making More With Less,” by Melissa Coleman (Oxmoor House, April 2018).

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 large eggs, at room temperature (see NOTE)

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup regular or low-fat milk

2 to 3 tablespoons harissa

Pinch kosher salt

3 ounces chilled brie cheese, cut into thin slices

1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds

1/2 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds

1/4 teaspoon dehydrated onion flakes

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the butter in an 9- or 10-inch cast-iron or ovenproof skillet; transfer to the oven. Watch closely so the butter melts, but do not let it brown or burn.

Beat the eggs in a blender on medium-high speed for 5 seconds until frothy, then add the flour, milk, harissa (to taste) and salt. Blend on low speed to incorporate, then blend on medium-high for 10 seconds to form a smooth batter.

Remove the hot pan from the oven and swirl the melted butter so it coats the sides. Immediately pour in the batter; bake (middle rack) for about 15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown at the edges, which should curve and rise above the rim. Turn off the oven, let sit for 5 minutes. This will help the pancake keep its structure.

Reduce the temperature to 200 degrees. Remove from the oven just long enough to arrange the brie slices on the surface of the Dutch baby (tamping down any big bumps, as needed), then sprinkle with the black and toasted sesame seeds and the onion flakes. Return to the oven; bake for 2 minutes, or just until the cheese begins to melt.

Use a thin spatula to dislodge the pancake; it should slide right out. Cut into wedges and serve right away.

NOTE: To bring eggs to room temperature, place them (whole, in the shell) in a bowl of warm tap water for 5 minutes.

Nutrition | Per serving (using low-fat milk): 330 calories, 14 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 21 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 190 mg cholesterol, 330 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar

Dutch Baby With Chorizo and Watercress

2 to 3 servings

Here, the slight heat and chew of cured chorizo combined with peppery watercress are lively complements to the eggy oven pancake.

From deputy Food editor/recipes editor Bonnie S. Benwick.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large eggs, at room temperature (see NOTE)

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup regular or low-fat milk

Pinch kosher salt

Pinch freshly ground black pepper

2 1/2 ounces cured, cooked chorizo, cut into thin half-moon slices

2 handfuls watercress

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the butter in an 8-inch cast-iron or ovenproof skillet; transfer to the oven. Watch closely so the butter melts, but do not let it brown or burn.

Beat the eggs in a blender on medium-high speed for 5 seconds until frothy, then add the flour, milk and salt and pepper. Blend on low speed to incorporate, then blend on medium-high for 5 seconds to form a smooth batter.

Remove the hot pan from the oven and swirl the melted butter so it coats the sides. Immediately pour in the batter; bake (middle rack) for 13 to 15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown at the edges, which should curve and rise above the rim. Turn off the oven, and let sit for 5 minutes. This will help the pancake keep its structure.

Meanwhile, place the chorizo half-moon slices in a microwave-safe bowl; cook on MEDIUM for 30 seconds, or until slightly crisped. Let cool on paper towels.

Use a thin spatula to dislodge the Dutch baby from its pan, sliding the pancake onto a plate or cutting board. Top with the watercress and crisped chorizo, then drizzle with oil. Serve right away.

NOTE: To bring eggs to room temperature, place them (whole, in the shell) in a bowl of warm tap water for 5 minutes.

Nutrition | Per serving (based on 3, using low-fat milk): 370 calories, 14 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 27 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 170 mg cholesterol, 540 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar

Harissa Dutch Baby With Tomatoes and Mozzarella

2 to 3 servings

Adding the spicy pepper paste to the eggy pancake batter gives it a cheerful color as well as a mild boost of flavor.

From deputy Food editor/recipes editor Bonnie S. Benwick.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large eggs (see NOTE)

1/2 cup flour

2 tablespoons harissa

1/2 cup regular or low-fat milk

Pinch kosher salt, plus more as needed

Pinch freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

2 cups heirloom cherry and grape tomatoes, cut in half

4 ounces bocconcini (small mozzarella balls), drained

Handful fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley leaves, torn

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the butter in an 8-inch cast-iron or ovenproof skillet; transfer to the oven. Watch closely so the butter melts, but do not let it brown or burn.

Beat the eggs in a blender on medium-high speed for 5 seconds until frothy, then add the flour, harissa, milk, salt and pepper. Blend on low speed to incorporate, then blend on medium-high for 5 seconds to form a smooth batter.

Remove the hot pan from the oven and swirl the melted butter so it coats the sides. Immediately pour in the batter; bake (middle rack) for 13 to 15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown at the edges, which should curve and rise above the rim. Turn off the oven, and let sit for 5 minutes. This will help the pancake keep its structure.

Meanwhile, toss together the tomatoes, mozzarella balls and basil or parsley in a bowl; season lightly with salt and pepper.

As soon as you remove the Dutch baby from the oven, top with the tomato mixture; the cheese should start to melt just a little. Use a thin spatula to dislodge the pancake; it should slide right out. Serve right away.

NOTE: To bring eggs to room temperature, place them (whole, in the shell) in a bowl of warm tap water for 5 minutes.

Nutrition | Per serving (based on 3, using low-fat milk): 350 calories, 16 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 21 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 175 mg cholesterol, 300 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugar

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