Double Dutch Bus.
I was initially kinda shocked, and then totally thrilled that Adam Rapoport wrote such a lovely ode to the german pancake (or popover, or “Dutch Baby”) in this year’s MOTY edition of Gentlemen’s Quarterly. I was introduced to my first Dutch Baby about 15 years ago in Michigan at the Original Pancake House in Southfield. Legend has it that this kind of pancake – and the establishment that first served them up in North America – has it’s humble beginnings in Seattle, Washington. The OPH was started in Portland, Oregon and now has over 100 franchises in the United States.
From my first bite I was positively hooked. It’s like the first time you eat a beignet: there’s no sane reason why you should be on a steady diet of this stuff, but GODDAMN they are delicious. Anyway, enough of my waxing gastronomic; I’ve tried out a few recipes online and they haven’t really worked out, but this recent one from GQ is the closest you’ll get to the real thing… with a couple of provisos.
For starters, the trick to making these is that it’s all about 1) the ingredients being at (or just below) room temperature, 2) the quality and – more importantly – the size of the cooking vessel, and 3) the amount of fat used to cook theses babies up.
The only beef that I have with the GQ recipe is the amount of butter suggested; it’s far too much and too much butter means more fat that pools on the batter as it’s trying to rise which more often than not creates a misshapen and unevenly cooked pancake. This one hiccup notwithstanding, the following proportions and guidelines will leave you with a breakfast you won’t soon forget and that you’ll be craving again and again.
DUTCH BABIES (makes one):
5o grams butter.
2 large eggs.
1/2 cup milk.
1/2 cup organic unbleached all-purpose flour.
1/4 teaspoon good quality salt.
1 teaspoon raw cane sugar.
Pinch of nutmeg or – even better – some powdered Madagascar vanilla.
Fresh lemon wedges.
Powdered sugar (Wholesome Sweetners makes an insane organic one).
Pre-heat your oven to 425ºF (220ºC). Beat eggs, milk, sugar and salt until uniform. Stir in flour and nutmeg – or vanilla – until the mixture is a smooth batter. Place butter in a 9″ or 10″ cast iron skillet (or a pyrex pie plate of equal diameter) and place in the oven. Leave for 3-4 minutes for the skillet to heat up and the butter to melt. Remove from the oven and pour in the batter. Replace in the oven on the center rack (you need some headspace as the pancake will rise considerably) and allow to cook for 18-2o minutes. Remove from oven, plate and dust with powdered sugar. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the Dutch Baby and give ‘er hell.
Snoop ain’t got nothin’ on this.