It was breakfast time and I was broke, YET AGAIN. So, as a means of early-morning masochism, I was flipping through the breakfast section of my Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, thinking there was no way I had the necessary ingredients to make myself anything. But then I found Deb Perelman’s recipe for Gingerbread Spice Dutch Baby. HOORAY! This recipe requires eggs (which I always have), milk (which I happened to have), flour (duh), butter (double duh), sugar, spices, and molasses (which I had bought months ago and then promptly forgot about).
A Dutch Baby is kindasorta like a pancake, in that it’s made in a pan, somewhat flat and appropriate for breakfast, but it’s baked in the oven, instead of the stove top, and is more egg-centric, which means the texture is far more decadent and interesting. Also, the name makes for great word play. When you’re done eating it, you get to proclaim “I ate an entire Dutch Baby!” which is usually only something that scary characters like Hannibal Lecter could say honestly.
Note: This recipe uses a BLENDER! Yes, the same thing you use to make frozen margaritas and daiquiris! Coincidence? Probably. Dutch Babies are nothing like margaritas, except in that they are tasty and I could happily imbibe roughly 6 of them, or until my friends* take them away from me and tell me I’m not allowed to have anymore.
The recipe is great for an autumnal brunch, and will feed one hungry person or two people who have already shared a pound of bacon.
STUFF YOU’LL NEED:
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon unsulfured molasses
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I did a little extra, because I’m Neil Young’s type of lady).
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch o’ ground clove
Pinch o’ ground cardamom (not necessary, but I added some and it was a good decision)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk (original recipe specifies whole milk, but I used 2% with no issues)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (if you only have salted butter, omit the 1/8 tsp salt)
Optional stuff to put on top of your finished baby: confectioners’ sugar, cream, more butter, maple syrup, a tiny hat, etc.
STUFF YOU GOTTA DO:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Crack the two eggs into blender and turn that sucker up to high.
The eggs should lighten in color slightly as air is blended into them. I left mine going for about a minute.
Add all the other ingredients minus the butter and anything you want to put on top of the finished Baby. Blend again until everything’s, well, blended.
Let the mix sit while you melt the butter over high heat in an 8 or 9-inch ovenproof skillet. I used my 8-inch cast iron pan. If you don’t own any cast iron, GET ON IT. Easy to clean, lasts for forever, versatile (you can use it on the stove, in the oven, or to kill a home intruder in the style of a bad-ass hillbilly grandma. It’s good for everything!).
Swirl the melted butter around to that the sides and bottom of the pan are evenly coated. Turn off the heat, then pour your blender contents to the pan and promptly insert into oven.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. In an 8-inch pan, you’re looking at 20 minutes because of the reduced cooking area. If you’re using a 9-incher, it will probably be closer to 15 minutes. Everybody’s oven is different, though, so I’M NOT PROMISING ANYTHING.
I snuck a peek about 10 minutes in so I could take a picture showing you the ripply magic that is the Dutch Baby.
See how it has lifted itself out of the pan around the edges? Totally normal. This is just how babies are made.**
Once removed from the oven, the ripples and folds will fall slightly. The surface of the Dutch Baby will be crackly and golden and just absolutely glorious looking.
Slide onto a plate while still hot, then cover your beautiful baby with confectioners’ sugar, cream, maple syrup (WARNING: if you put FAKE maple syrup on your innocent Dutch Baby, I will personally hunt you down and hit you across the face with my cast iron pan), or what have you. The spices give it a great flavor on its own, so you don’t need to go too crazy. As you can see, I opted for some sifted confectioners’ sugar, and it was perfect.
The crackling on top breaks delicately between your teeth before they sink a little deeper and make contact with the rich, tender, almost custard-like interior. The texture combined with the traditionally autumnal spices made me think of pumpkin pie. Conclusion: Dutch Babies are the BEST babies, and I hope to eat many more of them.
Just call me Ali, Proud Eater of Babies.
*Who are clearly PARTY POOPERS
**Now you know!