Bring on the brunch, baby
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
The forces that aligned and compelled me to make a Dutch baby last Sunday were beyond my control.
I’d first begun thinking about the puffy pancake with German origins when I heard about the recent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions taking place on the Big Island of Hawaii—the first and last place I consumed a Dutch baby. With backyard brunch season in full swing, the delicious dish also seemed like it would be a swell addition to my recipe repertoire (sans the lava and ground-shaking).
The popover plan was solidified after a stop at a Saturday morning yard sale on Bellingham’s Walnut Street, where I found a copy of The Little Dutch Cookbook in a free pile. A quick scan of the 50-page primer confirmed a recipe for Dutch babies was included. When I checked to make sure there was no cost, the woman collecting funds for my other purchases informed me the tome was indeed gratis, and that it had been written by her husband, Ron.
I couldn’t find Ron’s last name when I further perused the contents at home—no credit was or copyright was included—but I did discover the soups, salads, appetizers, main dishes, vegetables, desserts, bread, pastries, cookies and pancakes included in the cookbook were the kind anybody who grew up in Holland would remember as being “typically Dutch.”
By the time Sunday morning rolled around, our fridge also contained a metric ton of freshly harvested rhubarb, so I moved beyond Ron’s simpler six-ingredient Dutch baby recipe to one that included the perennial plant on its ingredient list. The roasted vegetable was a savory addition to the dish, and earned two thumbs up from my resident taster, who, like me, also added vanilla yogurt and syrup to the top of the finished product.
“I could eat this all the time,” he said while serving up his second helping. “It wouldn’t have to be for a special event like Mother’s Day or anything—any Sunday brunch would do.”
Rhubarb Dutch Baby
3 cups diced rhubarb (half-inch pieces)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. flour
Dutch Baby Batter
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of fine table salt
2 tbsp. butter cold, cut into two pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an oven-safe skillet, combine rhubarb, brown sugar and flour. Stir until well-coated. Roast in the preheated oven, uncovered, for about 25 minutes, or until tender and thickened.
Meanwhile, prepare the Dutch baby batter by adding the melted and cooled butter to a blender. Add the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Blend batter until smooth. Let sit in blender, while you prepare the rhubarb roasts.
When rhubarb is cooked, remove skillet from oven. Raise oven temperature to 425 degrees. Spoon off about half of the roasted rhubarb into a bowl and set aside to be used for topping. Add the two pieces of cold butter to the hot pan. Give the Dutch baby batter a quick blend, then pour batter into skillet with remaining rhubarb. Place back in to oven and cook 18-22 minutes, or until puffed, set and deep golden around the edges. Remove from oven. (Dutch baby will deflate as it cools. Don’t worry, that’s normal.)
Serve warm, topped with reserved roasted rhubarb (rewarm if you like). Dust with powdered sugar or top with vanilla ice cream for dessert.
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