I love a stack of pancakes for brunch but they are not the easiest thing to make for a crowd. Between flipping the pancakes, keeping them warm, and making sure you have enough to feed everyone, I find the whole process kind of stressful, especially first thing in the morning. And don't even get me started on waffles. Breakfast at home shouldn't require a separate appliance.
When making brunch for myself and Dan last weekend, I think I found a solution: the Dutch baby. It's like a cross between a pancake and a crepe, with puffed golden pockets and crispy, buttery edges. To make it, you mix up a quick batter and pour it into an overproof pan (cast-iron skillets work great for this) then bake for about 15 minutes. The Dutch baby emerges from the oven puffed and golden. All you have to do is slice it up and serve--no flipping required. Served up with some brunch-y sides, it makes a perfect centerpiece. Or, you could make several Dutch babies at the same time if you're hosting brunch for a few people.
To gild the lily, I had some plums that were starting to go soft, so I cut them up and placed them in the batter after I poured it into the pan. Wanting a little more texture, I sprinkled a handful of sliced almonds on top as well. The end result was deliciously jammy with a nice crunch from the toasted almonds.
The only problem is the name, which Dan hates, and refuses to say. I have to agree...who wants to eat a baby? I'm sure there's a good story behind the name, which I can't seem to find. Can anyone out there help me out? When I Googled "Dutch baby name" all I got was Ared, Klaas, Marieke, and Joost. Maybe I'll just call it a puffy pancake next time?
Plum Dutch baby
Adapted from the Joy of Cooking. You can easily omit the almonds and substitute any fruit you have on hand. I think berries, apples, peaches, pears, or even bananas would work just as well.
(Serves 2 to 4)
4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
6 small plums, quartered and pitted (Or 1 large plum)
1/3 cup sliced almonds
powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together the milk, flour, sugar, and eggs until smooth. In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet (cast iron is ideal), melt the butter over medium heat. Tilt the pan so that the butter coats the sides. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and cook, without stirring, for 1 minute. Place the plum slices in the batter, distributing them evenly throughout the skillet. Sprinkle the almonds on top. Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the pancake is puffed and golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately, for the pancake loses its puff, and therefore its drama, almost immediately. (I love that line.)