Michael’s notes: I never knew what a Dutch baby was until my wife introduced me to this favorite from her childhood. It’s an enormous, oven-baked pancake that puffs up theatrically, then just as suddenly collapses into a rich, custardy pie—similar to a clafoutis but less eggy. The preferred way to cook a Dutch baby is in a cast-iron skillet with a lot of butter in the bottom so that you get a little bit of a popover-type crust. Confectioners’ sugar and a squeeze of lemon are the traditional accompaniments.
The sautéed apples are our house variation. For a savory twist, skip the apples and add modest amounts of grated aged Gouda cheese, sautéed onions, and herbes de Provence directly to the batter.
I especially like to serve this Dutch baby for brunch with company, because I can make the batter and sautéed apples in advance and then finish the pancake in the oven while I visit with my guests. If you want to do it that way, you can make the batter the night before and refrigerate it in the blender jar, giving it a last second spin to reblend. The apples can be made an hour ahead of time and rewarmed just before serving.
Recipe: Dutch Baby With Sautéed Apples
Prep Time: 10 min(s)
Cook Time: 20 min(s)
Total Time: 30 min(s)
A recipe from Michael Natkin's cookbook, "Herbivoracious: A Flavor Revolution with 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes."
5 large eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 firm apples such as Cortland or Gala, peeled, cored, and cut into 16 slices each
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Combine the eggs, milk, flour, and salt in a blender. Blend at high speed for 1 minute.
Put 6 tablespoons of the butter into a well-seasoned 12-inch cast-iron skillet or other large, oven-safe pan. Put the skillet in the oven.
When the butter is melted and sizzling, carefully pull the skillet out and swirl the butter around or use a brush to be sure the whole skillet is coated. Pour in the batter and return the pan to the oven. Cook until puffed and golden brown, about 18 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the apples and sauté until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt, and sauté until fully tender and glazed, about 2 minutes more.
When the Dutch baby is done, carefully remove the skillet from the oven. Pat off any excess butter on top with a paper towel. Top with the apples and a generous sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar. Since the skillet is really hot, you might want to plate this in the kitchen rather than bring it to the table. Offer lemon wedges on the side; they add a nice counterpoint to the sweetness