Let Me Teach You How to Dutch Baby

Growing up my family went to brunch every Sunday. For a few years, we went to Bickford’s and my mom’s standard order was the baby apple pancake, a fluffy baked pancake topped with layers of thinly sliced apples and coated with cinnamon sugar. I usually ordered the Dutch pancake, which is served with a dusting of powdered sugar and lemon.

Photo Cred: Melanie Cohen

Photo Credit: Melanie Cohen

Then a brunch tragedy occurred. BICKFORD’S CLOSED. Those first few brunches afterwards were sad Sundays. But we persevered and found other restaurants and foods to satiate us. We’d always have the memories.

One day (insert a ray of sunshine), I found a recipe for the supposed Bickford’s pancake. I may have squealed. It seemed too easy, too good to be true. I was dubious that such a fluffy pancake only required five ingredients and basic baking equipment.

You guys, it really is that easy.

I tested it out a few more times and made different variations. I started to sound like the Bubba Gump of Dutch pancakes. A Dutch pancake with apples and cinnamon. A Dutch pancake with lemon and powdered sugar. A Dutch pancake with bananas and rum. A Dutch pancake with blueberries and almonds…I think you get the point.

There are myriad ways you could make this. It’s also ideal for when you have friends for brunch because the Dutch pancake requires minimal effort and it has a serious wow factor when you pull that fluffy masterpiece from your oven.

Now, let me to teach you how to Dutch baby…

Photo Credit: Melanie Cohen

Photo Credit: Melanie Cohen

Dutch Baby Pancake (three ways)

(This recipe, and any of the variations, may be cut in half and baked in a 6-inch oven-safe skillet.)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk (Any kind works–whole, low fat, etc. I’ve also used coconut milk to make the bananas and rum variation.)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Garnish: confectioners’ sugar, lemon wedges

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk in a bowl until just combined.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stir until just blended.
  5. In a heavy 12-inch oven-safe skillet (preferably cast-iron), melt butter until hot and frothy. Pour batter into skillet and transfer quickly to oven.
  6. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and puffed. Do not open oven during baking. Serve immediately, topped with confectioners’ sugar and lemon wedges.

Apple Variation:
(Adapted from Yankee Magazine)

Thinly slice one tart apple (e.g., granny smith, pink lady) and put in a small microwave-safe bowl; soften the slices slightly in the microwave. Set aside. Combine 1 tablespoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon nutmeg with ¼ cup sugar. After adding batter to pan (step four) add apple slices and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake as directed and serve with warm maple syrup and/or butter.

Bananas & Rum Variation:
(Make the banana rum mixture while the pancake is in the oven.)

Slice two ripe bananas on an angle, set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons rum, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoons orange juice in a large skillet until the butter is melted. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat so the sauce is bubbling gently. Add bananas. Cook until they are softened, about 4 minutes. Keep warm until the pancake is done.

Immediately after removing the pancake from the oven, top with the banana rum mixture. Slice and serve.

Save

Apples to a Rose

Hello October. Some of you have dreams of pumpkin spice anything dancing through your heads. I don’t. For me, October is all about apples. Crisp, tart apples with cheese, apples plucked straight from an orchard, apple pie, peanut butter and apples, baked apples filled with toasted pecans, hot apple-cranberry cider…I’m the Bubba Gump of apples.

Apples

Granny Smith and Macintosh Apples | Photo Credit: Melanie Cohen

Today, let’s discuss an apple tart—a gorgeous rose-shaped tart, courtesy of my friend Cash Colburn. We traded recipes one Sunday brunch; she taught me how to make the tart and I showed her how to dutch baby (recipe coming next week).  This tart is great for dessert too, a snack or whenever you have a hankering for warm cinnamon-flecked apples.

Apple Rose-shaped Tart | Photo Credit: Melanie Cohen

Many thanks to Cash, aka the Queen of Tarts, for showing me how to turn apples into a rose and sharing the following recipe.

Apples to a Rose 

Notes: While this looks incredibly complex and impossible, it’s mostly time consuming. Because this recipe is a bit more challenging (really just with the arranging), I’d like to share some things to keep in mind:

  1. A mandolin is a must. It’ll make the whole process go much quicker and you really need to have apple slices that aren’t too thick. I picked one up from Target for under $20.
  2. We used a springform pan so the tart could be removed and plated. If you love tart pans and can’t imagine this without one, go for it!Rose_Tart Apples_Buttressed
  3. When arranging the slices along the edge, the second layer of apple slices should be arranged in between the layer of slices. (Not sure what this means? Neither was I! For a visual, see the image to the right.) This creates the illusion of a rose. It’s fairly easy and actually kinda fun once you get started.
  4. If you are taking this to an event and want to bake it there, freeze it for about an hour first. This will keep it from warming up and getting misshapen in transit. I’ve kept mine in the freezer overnight with no problems, but an hour would suffice.

We used Macintosh apples with a layer of Granny Smith just for color. Macintosh is my favorite apple to bake with, but any type with a nice firm texture will do. [Bipartisan Baking Note: Try mixing Matsu with Pink Lady or Honeycrisp.)

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 1 lemon
  • 7-8 apples (about 1 1/2 pounds ), cored and quartered
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, freshly ground is worth the extra step
  • Pinch salt

Crust: Puff pastry, usually found in the freezer section, thawed

Glaze:

Two options:

  • Bourbon, straight up.
  • Bourbon Glaze:
    • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed
    • 2 tablespoons bourbon
    • 1 tablespoon water

Special Equipment:

  • 9-inch springform pan
  • Mandolin

Instructions

  1. Squeeze the lemon into a medium bowl. Using a mandolin (set on the second setting), slice each quartered apple into 1/8-inch slivers. As the apples are sliced, transfer them to the bowl and toss them with lemon juice; this will prevent them from browning. (Reserve one half of an apple for the tart’s center – we’re going to slice that later). To the bowl, add the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Carefully toss until evenly coated, the slices can break in half while tossing and that’s just a pain to work with.
    Apple Slices

    Photo Credit: Melanie Cohen

    Apple Slices Tossed with Cinnamon | Photo Credit: Melanie Cohen

  2. Lay your puff pastry into the springform or tart pan, making sure to press in any seams that have cracked. Leave the excess to be trimmed later. Arrange the apple slices side-by-side, starting closest to the edge of the tart shell. For the second layer, arrange the slices, overlapping them in concentric circles. (Different words, but same concept that was described in the headnote. Visual learner? See the photo above .) As you get to the center, you’ll need apple slivers that are very thin. Slice the reserved quarter of an apple very thinly (on the mandolin’s first setting) and arrange it until the gap in the center is completely closed. I’ve found this is easier to do by laying these slices on a cutting board, overlapping them very tightly, then rolling it up like a fruit roll up and popping it right into the middle. Trim the excess crust.
  3. If needed, transfer the pie to the freezer and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the edges of the crust with butter or bourbon and place the unbaked tart in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, checking it at the 20 minute mark to make sure all is ok, until the apples are lightly golden brown and the edges of the crust are browned. Allow to come to room temperature on a cooling rack.
    AppleRoseTart_CloseUp

    Close-up of the Tart’s Center | Photo Credit: Melanie Cohen

    (If you’re so inclinced to make the bourbon glaze, keep reading. If not, let the tart cool to room temperature and grab a fork. It’s apple-eating time.)

  5. Meanwhile, let’s make the bourbon glaze. In a heavy-bottomed medium pan, placed over moderately high heat, pour in the sugar. Using a silicon spatula, begin to stir until the sugar melts completely and turns a lightly golden brown. Cook for an additional 30 seconds or so, until the sugar turns a golden brown color. Immediately take the pan off the heat and stir in the butter. Once the butter has melted, pour in the bourbon and water. The mixture will bubble up, not to worry – this is normal, just keep stirring until smooth. If the mixture seizes, place the mixture over very low heat and keep stirring until it becomes smooth. The mixture should be thin.
  6. Brush the apples liberally with the warm glaze. You may have a tablespoon or two of extra glaze. I have been known to bake up the puff pastry slivers and brush them with the excess glaze to enjoy with a cup of coffee…

Slice of Apple Tart | Photo Credit: Melanie Cohen