I could eat them any which way from sun up ’til sundown. Rhubarb, créme fraîche, apple, ice cream, jam, yogurt, blackberry, onion, pear, garlic, chocolate, rabbit, pesto, even simple powdered sugar and lemon – anything you want to put on or in a Dutch baby, I’m game. I am a Dutch baby warrior. I scoff at the terrified faces of my poor roommates when I propose (nay, order) ten eggs to be cracked for Dutch twins. My dream for the fall is a caramelized apple and razor clam Dutch baby.
Simple instructions: 400°F. Butter in cast-iron skillet in oven while preheating. Batter: 5 eggs, 1 cup milk, 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Put whatever you want in or on it. Pour batter into hot skillet and cook until hugely puffy, brown on the edges. More detailed instructions below.
First, make sure you have a medium-sized cast iron skillet. This is an essential stovetop-to-oven kitchen item. Thrift or antique shops have the best deals on high-quality cast-iron. I do not recommend TJ Maxx for cast-iron. Don’t be intimidated by the cleaning rules for cast-iron, just relax and follow these guidelines. Really, any size cast-iron is fine. Bigger is better. Two skillets is better. There is no such thing as too much Dutch baby.
Second, mix your batter in a large bowl. 5 eggs get whisked with 1 cup of milk(preferably raw). Slowly add and whisk 3/4 cup flour (I have successfully used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour Mix) and 1/2 teaspoon good salt (if you are in Olympia, check out the affordable and delicious selection at Buck’s Fifth Ave next to Darby’s). You can add a dash of vanilla extract, if you like to have all of your food smell like vanilla.
Thirdly, drop a big blob of butter into that beautiful, well-cared for skillet. How much? More is better. I’ve been accused of forcing my Dutch babies to swim in butter; “Builds character,” I say. About 3 tablespoons.
Fourthly, turn on your oven to 400°F and stick that skillet on a rack in the middle to melt the butter and heat the pan.
Fifth, pick some ingredients. Anything you want. Nectarines? Caramelize in the butter with some sugar and bury in batter. Anchovy paste? Put it on top of the finished product. Jam? Run spoonfuls through the batter before oven-ing it.
Sixth, if using something that needs softening, like apples or onions, chop into pieces and mix into the melted butter in the skillet. Put back in the oven to caramelize while it continues to preheat. Wash a dish or wipe down your counters, or finish mixing the batter. Maybe roll some blackberries in flour and fold them into the batter.
Seventh: Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Sprinkle chocolate on top. Cinnamon. Caramelized onions. Stick it in the oven.
Eight: Dance. You’ll start to smell it after ten minutes or twenty, and the heavens will smile. Try not to open the oven door too much. It’s ready when the center looks just cooked through and the edges are browned and your stomach tells you, “Yes. That baby is done.”
10th Commandment: Thou shalt share the Dutch baby.