I’ve been wanting to make one of these eggy treats – called Dutch baby or German pancake –for quite a while and it wasn’t until I saw it being made on America’s Test Kitchen that I finally got around to it. Well, that’s not exactly true. I tried making one about a year ago and it wasn’t exactly photogenic, unless you consider this a beauty (which I don’t).
But I should have had a bit more faith, since the center started to deflate after a minute or two of removing it from the oven, bringing in the sides to form a high ridge above the custardy center. I was starting to become a believer. By the time I spooned all the apples to the interior, it was a vision of deliciousness and we couldn’t wait to dive in.
The key to this Dutch baby’s success has a lot to do with an unusual approach to oven temperature. It seems counter intuitive, but you start it in a cold oven, cranking it to 375 degrees only after you place the pan in the oven. Starting it in a cold oven allows for a slower build-up of heat, so the center can start to set before the oven reaches the temperature necessary to give the highest lift to the rim (which takes about 25 -30 minutes). A lot of Dutch babies have a very thin base, but this technique allows for a thicker center, which is more satisfying to eat and better able to serve as a base for the apple topping. It slipped out very easily from the cast iron skillet I used onto a serving platter.
This apple Dutch baby recipe also calls for the apples to be cooked separately in a saucepan, rather than cooked with the batter, ensuring that you don’t end up with a heavy, leaden pancake.
Spoon the apples over the Dutch baby, then either sprinkle with powdered sugar or serve with maple syrup. Cut a slice or two for yourself. It would be a delicious way to start the new year.
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- 1 ¾ cups (8¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 6 large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- FOR THE APPLE TOPPING:
- 2 large apples
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Whisk flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, lemon zest, salt, and nutmeg together in large bowl.
- Whisk milk, eggs, and vanilla together in second bowl.
- Whisk two-thirds of milk mixture into flour mixture until no lumps remain, then slowly whisk in remaining milk mixture until smooth.
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position.
- Melt butter in 12-inch ovensafe nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.
- Add batter to skillet, immediately transfer to oven, and set oven to 375 degrees.
- Bake until edges are deep golden brown and center is beginning to brown, 30 to 35 minutes.
- While the pancake is cooking, prepare the apples..
- Peel them and cut into ½ inch slices
- Add 2 tablespoons butter to a skillet and melt.
- Add ½ cup water, ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and ⅛ teaspoon salt.
- Cook until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the apples and cover the pan, simmering for five minutes.
- Remove the lid and cook for another five to ten minutes, allowing the most of the water to evaporate and the syrup to thicken.
- Remove the skillet with the pancake from the oven, and carefully lift out of the skillet onto a serving dish.
- Spoon the cooked apple slices to the center of the pancake.
- Cut into wedges and serve.