“Dutch Babies” (serves 4 or more, depending)
This is wonderfully easy version of “puffed” pancakes that you cook all all at once in the oven, rather than standing over a hot stove, cranking them out a few at a time. It’s best baked in a large cast iron skillet, but the recipe is easily doubled using two 9×13 casseroles that will fit in the oven side by side on the same rack (leaving room above to allow for rising. Also, if you use enough fruit for topping, with maybe a side of bacon or sausage, you can stretch it to feed, as I often have, an entire basketball team or a birthday party sleepover. When my children were growing up, this was our standard Sunday night supper, and I’d make two pans _ one for four of us, and one for my oldest, who could eat more than any human I’ve ever met. (Years later, when he was a regular on a TV show called “Ed,” he had an entire scene based on his singular style of eating pancakes _ a scene so convincing several people, mostly men, have called it a television classic_ and he didn’t even have to act.)
Here’s how the recipe works:
Preheat oven to 425.
Melt in oven one stick (1/2 c.) butter in a cast iron skillet or 9×13 pan.
Mix in blender or by hand, 5 eggs, 1 c. milk and 1 c. flour until smooth.
Swirl melted butter in the pan to coat evenly, then pour in the batter.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until puffed and golden (center should be set, not runny.)
Meanwhile, prepare fruit topping: Fresh berries are great, but you can use canned or frozen fruit (yes, thaw it first.) I often use a large can of peaches, undrained, to which I add a half c. of sugar, 2 T. corn starch and a half stick of butter, then microwave on high for a few minutes until bubbly and thick. But the simplest (and my favorite) topping is just a squeeze of lemon juice, sweetened with a dusting of powdered sugar.
When you remove the pan from the oven, the batter will have risen gloriously, causing you to think, lest you had any doubt, that you are quite the cook. Which, no doubt, you are. But trust me on this, it WILL FALL. Count on it. Do not take it personally. Just smile and remind your guests that it’s supposed to fall, and they should just be glad to get it. Cut in wedges or squares, serve with fruit or lemon, and dust with powdered sugar. If somebody insists on having syrup, fine. Let them have it. But make them clean up. Happy eating.