Project of the day: Redemption
When I first made this custardy, moist, just-sweet-enough, giant puffy pancake, I burned it to a crisp.
Everything I baked in Ireland burned. No matter how carefully I converted Fahrenheit to Celsius or adjusted for the convection oven, it just burned. Usually before the middle was even done.
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. That was me and this oven. I kept trying, but things just came out black. I assumed this was a case of stupid american. I later learned that the temperature dial was broken and everything was baking at greater than 250°C. Moral of the story: trust your own ability and call facilities before the heating coil burns itself out!
But before I had learned this valuable lesson, a friend of mine came for a visit. And, of course, I tried to bake for him. So many delicious concoctions did i burn for him, all of which he somehow enjoyed despite their crispy exterior. One was this Dutch baby pancake.
I don’t know why, but as soon as I discovered the recipe in the Chicago Tribune, I knew I had to make it for him. I bided my time until an oven was near, and finicky or not, my Irish oven would do! I scraped off the charcoal and slathered it with mascarpone, and it was good enough. At least, it somehow didn’t deter him from asking me out at the end of the week. Exactly eight months ago actually, and we’re still very happy together.
The dutch baby pancake, however, I was still unhappy with. So this morning I seized my chance, and this time successfully! It was sweet and custardy and didn’t even need the fancy mascarpone and raspberries- a sprinkle of plane old sugar on top was perfect!
I am satisfied.
Dutch Baby Pancake (based off this)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Almond extract (or amaretto)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
I was without citrus fruit and used amaretto which was equally as delicious as the original, which calls for both lemon and orange zest. Feel free to try grapefruit or lime or grand marnier or whatever you have around.
Toppings (see suggestions below)
Preheat oven to 450°F
Beat together eggs and sugar. Mix in the milk and extracts/zests of your choosing, then the flour and beat until smooth. (For convenience I filled the tablespoon I used for the sugar half with vanilla extract and half with amaretto, technically 1 1/2 teaspoons each)
Coat the inside of a 10 inch pie plate or skillet (I actually used a 6 1/2 inch skillet-it just fit) with melted butter. You can put the skillet (NOT pie plate) over low heat on the stove with a chunk of cold butter in it and swirl, or the pie plate (or skillet) in the oven with the butter in it for a minute or two, or melt the butter in the microwave, whatever works for you.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan/skillet and bake for 15 minutes. Note: It will puff up a lot.
Reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 15 minutes, until nicely browned, puffy, and still a bit jiggly in the middle.
While its baking, prepare toppings (if you like).
When its done, use a flexible spatula to loosen the edges (and bottom if you can reach) and slide it onto a platter then top, cut into wedges, and serve. Or just top it in the pan and dig in with a fork and a friend : )
Fancy traditional topping:
While the pancake is still warm, spread with 2 tablespoons of mascarpone then sprinkle with ~1 tablespoon confectioners sugar (these will melt into a light creamy glaze). Top with fresh berries.
Imitation traditional topping:
Mix ~2 tablespoons cream cheese with ~2 teaspoons raspberry (or other nice) jelly. Serve on the side.
Sprinkle with ~1 tablespoon sugar while warm. (Optional-rub with just a touch of butter first)