Wednesday, September 16, 2009

a lazy (and delicious) alternative to pancakes

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.)


Megan and Butch! said...

Yum! I love giant fluffy skillet pancakes (I, like Dan, refuse to say the D.B. words). This reminds me of the cherry clafoutis that my mom used to make, which is like a pancake but far more buttery and studded with cherries and peaches. Hers had a thin little pate brisee crust, but that's not really necessary.
And plums! I think plums are such an underused fruit. Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

I think this is something like Nigella Lawson's yorkshire pudding-as-dessert, isn't it?

Margaret Pinard said...

I think "Puffy Pancake" works excellently. This looks great!

Colin P. Delaney said...

What about DamCake? Or the PanAm?

Lisa said...

M&B: Mmm...clafoutis. I need to make one of those soon. This was good, but clafoutis has a little more heft.

Anony: Yes, I know the recipe you're referring to. It is, but not as thick I think. This is more like a crepe.

Margaret: Thank you!

CPD: DamCake! A curse and a dessert combined. Awesome.

Daniel said...

Clafoutis is kind of an embarrassing word, too.

Maybe we can just call this thing The Joost.

Beth said...

heaven forbid it lose its drama! i have to say, i love impassioned recipe instructions. and this looks really tasty, especially your addition of the plums.

Lisa said...

Dan: The Joost it is. Although I know that the next time I make this for you, you're going to say, "Who's Joost?"

Beth: Oh, me too! I love Joy of Cooking for that reason, among many others. Thanks for reading.

Bec said...

This has always been one of my favorite breakfast treats! We call them "Puff Pancakes"

Ari said...

I've heard DutchBaby referred to as German Pancake as well -- fwiw.

Lisa said...

Bec: Yes, I think puff pancake sounds much nicer than The Joost. Or, um, DamCake.

Ari: Yes, I've heard that too. Doesn't it often have apples in it?

Anonymous said...

A similar recipe (without fruit) was given to me by a neighbor and called a "thesis pancake" as a left-over from her graduate student days when time was precious and ease/efficency of preparation was key. Per her suggestion, I've always served thesis pancakes with fresh squeezed lemon juice and powdered sugar. The plums are a brilliant addition!!

Lisa said...

Anony: Thesis Pancake? That is so funny! Who would have thought such a simple thing would have so many names? (Great tip on the lemon, too...)

Keritha said...

I received this recipe (with the addition of sprinkling with lemon juice and powdered sugar) as "Eyre's Pancake Nonpareil." How about that?

brillsec said...

My kids call it Baby Dutch - only a little less disturbing. My version incorporated Alaskan wild blueberries and fresh grated nutmeg.

Liz said...

This is reeeeeally late for this post, but my mom always called them "puffs." I just tried your version (sweets-hating boyfriend is out for dinner with the boys, so I HAD to have a puff. There just isn't another option), and it is amazing.


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