One of the saving graces of this pandemic for my son has been his magnetic tiles. He puts them together and takes them apart, as often and in as many ways as he wants. I feel the same way about milk, flour, eggs and butter: Four basic ingredients that can be mixed and matched and varied to create so many dishes.
That’s especially true for pancakes, which I’ve been on a bit of a kick for lately. Though I prefer buttermilk for my traditional fluffy stack, with that quartet you can pull together everything from thin crepes to thick, fluffy kaiserschmarrn. Vary the liquid, the leavening and the proportions, and you can play around with the texture and height that you prefer. Too many pancakes? Not in my book.
Now I have one more to share with you. It’s a Dutch baby, a puffy baked pancake that requires minimal time, ingredients and effort. You’re probably more used to seeing this morning staple come out of a skillet, but I couldn’t help figuratively slapping my forehead in a “no duh!” moment when I saw the large-format one peeking out of the pages at me in Edd Kimber’s new “One Tin Bakes,” which publishes here in the United States on Sept. 1. Kimber, the winner of the never-aired-in-the-States first season of “The Great British Bake Off,” makes everything in this delightful, well-written cookbook (his fourth) in a 9-by-13 tin. It’s nothing fancy, a workhorse, yet when you put something as simple as this 5-minute batter in and bake it until the edges dramatically puff, you’ll be rewarded with something that looks, and tastes, absolutely impressive.
The recipe takes well to your choice of fruit. I tested with fresh berries, sliced peaches and diced apples and liked them all. Based on personal experience (that son demanding all the fresh berries), I wouldn’t recommend frozen fruit, as it bled and make the pancake soggy, though I did still enjoy it. If you prefer, you can bake the pancake first and then add the fruit, to achieve a thinner, drier bottom.
This recipe is going into my regular breakfast rotation to jazz up what otherwise might be a meh morning. No one would complain if you served it as dessert, either, in which case you may want to drizzle with heavy cream or serve with ice cream. As long as you have the four main ingredients on hand, you’ll be ready to make it whenever, however.
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Giant Dutch Baby With Fruit
Active: 10 minutes | Total: 50 minutes
6 to 8 servings
The puffy baked pancakes known as Dutch babies are already eye-catching, but this large-format version made in a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan is especially impressive.
Feel free to use the fruit of your choice. We tested with fresh berries, sliced peaches and diced apples and liked them all. We don’t recommend frozen fruit, as it can weep and make the pancake soggy in the middle. You may bake the pancake first and then add the fruit, if you prefer the Dutch baby to have a thinner, drier bottom.
We enjoyed this as a breakfast main for a group. If you would rather offer it as dessert, consider drizzling with heavy cream or serving with ice cream.
Make Ahead: The batter needs to rest for about 20 minutes before baking.
Recipe notes: The recipe calls for the tin to be preheated empty, which helps generate the signature puff. Some manufacturers, including Pyrex and Le Creuset, do not recommend doing this with their baking dishes. A metal tin is ideal.
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Scant 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (240 milliliters) whole or reduced-fat milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
10 1/2 ounces (300 grams) fresh fruit of your choice, such as mixed berries, sliced peaches or diced apple
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Position a baking rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Place an empty 9-inch-by-13-inch pan on the rack while you prepare the batter.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar for 30 seconds, until the sugar dissolves, then add the flour, milk, vanilla and salt, whisking to form a smooth, thin batter. Set aside for 20 minutes while the oven heats up.
Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven and add the butter, swirling the pan until it melts and coats the bottom. Pour in the batter, sprinkle the fruit on top and bake for about 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden. The pancake will begin to deflate almost as soon as it comes out of the oven, but will largely retain its puffy edges.
Dust the pancake with the confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.
Nutrition (based on 8 servings) | Calories: 167; Total Fat: 6 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 104 mg; Sodium: 123 mg; Carbohydrates: 21 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugars: 7 g; Protein: 6 g.
Adapted from “One Tin Bakes,” by Edd Kimber (Kyle Books, 2020).
Becky Krystal is a writer for The Washington Post.