Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ooooh baby

I feel certain that there have already been numerous jokes made about Dutch baby pancakes and cannibalism, and you do have to be careful about how you offer them to people who might not be familiar with the dish. I’ve gotten some very strange looks when I’ve unthinkingly blurted out something about making a Dutch baby, and had to rapidly explain the absence of any actual babies in the recipe.

I’ve thought of just switching to using “baked pancake”, although that isn’t particularly accurate or informative either. “Yorkshire pudding”, which is essentially what this is, conjures up images of roast beef and Sunday dinner, and its original name “Apfelpannkuchen” might be confusing to non-German speakers, plus it (still more confusingly) refers to apples, which are an optional addition. How about “breakfast popover”?

How about we just eat?

Dutch baby pancake/breakfast popover for one
adapted from Ratio by Michael Ruhlman
The governing principle of this utterly brilliant book is that, once you know the relative proportions among standard ingredients in a cluster of classic recipes, you can do pretty much what you like with them: scale them up, scale them down, tweak the seasonings, add extras. I used his logic to scale down his basic popover recipe.

2 oz/50 g butter
1 large egg at room temperature
4 oz/½ cup/100 ml milk at room temperature
2 oz/ ½ cup/50 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp/5 g salt

Preheat the oven to 450F/230C. Put butter in a medium ovenproof pan* or dish and place in the oven to melt.

Whisk egg thoroughly, then add milk and continue whisking to combine. Stir flour and salt together, and add gradually to liquid, whisking all the while to combine into a thin batter.**

Remove pan/dish from the oven carefully and swirl to make sure the bottom and sides are coated with butter. Pour batter into the hot pan and return to oven. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the sides have puffed into a high, golden crown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Serve immediately, topped with confectioners’/icing sugar and lemon; maple syrup; or any fruit topping you can think of, raw or cooked. I topped mine with a healthy dollop of blackberry-applesauce (of which more later).

Serves 1.

* I used my tiny (about 4 in/10 cm across) cast-iron skillet.
** Resting the batter for at least 30 minutes is recommended at this point. I didn’t, and still had a beautifully puffy pancake.



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