At some point, we picked up a bad habit. We started eating dinner in front of the TV (watching this), Danny on his side of the couch, me on the other, my legs tucked to the side with a plate perched on top. Our little dining table took on the role of extra dish rack. But the other night, we found ourselves at the table again. A simple dinner: lentils, couscous, cherry tomatoes, and sausage. A bottle of rosé disappeared, deliciously, as we lingered at the table talking about life, wedding planning, winning the lotto, booking a flight to Seattle, honeymooning in Spain, and, generally, OUR FUTURE. It’s always fun to daydream outloud about this stuff with Danny. One thing that comes up is this idea that we would run a little B&B. If it did happen, Dutch baby pancakes would be in the rotation. It’s the kind of thing I’d always welcome on a weekend morning.
I say this is a weekend breakfast because it tastes like a treat, not because it’s a very involved recipe. It’s a simple batter with basic ingredients you probably always have around. You can dress it up as you like, with spices in the batter or jam swirled throughout. (Phyllis of Dash and Bella tried a bunch of versions, and they all sound delicious. Even the “stupid frittata” one.) I found the most important thing here is to preheat the skillet. When I didn’t take that step, my pancake did not puff up at all. Sad, like a kid realizing summer break doesn’t actually start until next week. You can’t imagine the joy when I pulled the next one from the oven: bold, proud, and towering high above the skillet it cooked in. You’ve gotta preheat, people.
The Valentine B&B is just a dream for now (otherwise I’d invite you over) but you don’t really need me to make this for you. Sleep in, and this puffy pancake recipe will still be here for you tomorrow, ready to go and simple and delicious as ever.
dutch baby pancake
The way a Dutch baby pancake puffs up is something to be seen, but the height doesn’t last long after you pull it from the oven. It soon deflates and folds into itself. Snap that Instagram picture quickly. To get that pancake height, make sure to preheat the skillet in the oven. I found that’s what helped the pancake puff up. Others says room temperature ingredients are key.
The orange blossom water is in here because I had it around and I wanted to amp up the floral/citrus flavors. Totally optional. This recipe makes enough to serve a couple slices per person. Each time, Danny and I have eaten the whole thing. No regrets. It’s the weekend and this thing is irresistible. This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart, but thanks to Jessica and Derek for showing us how easy it is to make this.
zest of 1 lemon or 1 small orange
1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
fresh lemon juice
fresh berries, for serving
Heat oven to 425°F and place 10-inch cast-iron or ovenproof skillet in center of oven. You want the skillet to be very hot.
In a small bowl, rub citrus zest into sugar. Whisk together eggs, milk, flour, salt, vanilla, lemon zest and sugar mixture, and orange blossom water. Mix until foamy, a couple minutes.
Remove skillet from oven and place 3 tablespoons butter in skillet. Swirl butter around and return to oven to allow butter to brown, about a minute; it will brown quickly. Pour batter into skillet and immediately return skillet to oven; bake until pancake is puffed up and lightly browned at the edges, about 15 to 20 minutes.
The incredible height of the pancake will be gone in a flash. Admire it, quickly. Place up to 1 tablespoon butter in the center of the pancake and use a mesh strainer to sprinkle the pancake with powdered sugar. Squeeze half a lemon over the pancake. Slice pancake into wedges, and serve immediately with fresh fruit.