I have a confession: I can't make pancakes. I've tried, I've failed, and I've given up. I can make French toast like a champ, though. I just don't do it often.
But I wanted to make something special for Father's Day this year and somewhere I saw a picture of a giant pancake. A skillet pancake. I couldn't remember where, though when time came to start planning, so I asked Twitter for some help. My friend, Tim recommended the Dutch Baby recipe from America's Test Kitchen. He'd tried it and attested to its goodness. I'm not much of a baker, so I was cautiously optimistic.
But I followed the recipe (almost) exactly and it was fantastic! A Dutch Baby is like a cross between a pancake, a popover, and a custard. Three things I like very, very much. And, fortunately, I had everything on hand to make it (including an oven-proof, 12-inch skillet; but you can also use baking dishes or even a pie plate). It took about an hour of preparation (zesting the lemon and getting all the lumps out of my batter were time consumers), but it was well worth it. This is the most delicious breakfast I've ever made.
I topped my Dutch Baby with some homemade blueberry sauce, but fresh fruit and cream or whatever you'd want in a crepe would work perfectly as well.
adapted from America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Country
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch, sifted (lumps removed)
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk*
1 tablespoon unsalted butter , melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar (optional for garnish)
*The recipe recommends skim milk for a crispier edge. I used whole milk and it was still fabulous.
Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Brush the surface and edges of a large oven-proof skillet with the oil. Place the skillet on the oven rack and heat until the oil is shimmering, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the flour, cornstarch, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs in another bowl until frothy and light, about 1 minute. Whisk the milk, butter, and vanilla into the eggs until incorporated. Whisk one-third of the milk mixture into the flour mixture until no lumps remain, then slowly whisk in remaining milk mixture until smooth.
Carefully pour the batter into the heated skillet and bake until edges of the Dutch Baby are deep golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes. Transfer the skillet to a wire rack and sprinkle the Dutch Baby with confectioners’ sugar. Cut into wedges and serve.
adapted from My Baking Addiction
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons orange or lemon juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved into 2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange or lemon zest
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the blueberries, 1/2 cup of water, sugar and fruit juice. Stir frequently, and bring to a low boil.
Slowly and gently stir the corn starch mixture into the blueberries. Simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and gently stir in vanilla and lemon zest.
Notes: This took me a while to make because I'm really bad at following recipes, so I read, read, and read again. It makes things go very slowly. Also, zesting and juicing can take a while. I'm not sure that either are necessary to make this, but I'm hesitant to try. You could probably leave out the zest easily and use bottled juice and still have a great pancake (-y thing).
Also, do NOT skip the part about sifting your cornstarch or whisking just 1/3 of the liquid into the mix because if you don't get all those cornstarch lumps out at the beginning, you will be sorry. I was.