Tonight I was supposed to be cooking snails. Or spot prawns. Or rabbit. Or one of many other dishes that I can’t quite tell you about yet. What I can tell you is that there is a lot going on. And this recipe isn’t supposed to be one of them.
See, sometime back March, I started getting busy. So busy, in fact, that I didn’t want to say anything for fear that I would jinx it. Good things were happening… things like shooting photos for cookbooks and hearing back from clients that I hadn’t heard from in a while. And, now, I’m in the midst of shooting my third and fourth cookbook (only the photos are mine), I have a 3 page spread in the most recent Seattle Metropolitan Bride & Groom, loads of shots in the new Edible Seattle, and a bunch of new photos coming soon to Epicurious, to name a few. Oh, and did I tell you, I have to get all that done before the 25th? Because (drumroll please), we are going on vacation. A real vacation. An unbelievable vacation. Italy. For 5 weeks. Yes. 5 weeks. That’s 35 days. 840 hours. 50,400 minutes.
Anyway, I’ve spent the day shooting (with the help of my new friend and assistant, Claire Bloomberg ) to try to get cookbook #3 finished up before I turn into a zucca, and really should have been testing one of the other recipes this evening. But then it occurred to me that well, some of you still might be out there wondering what had happened to me and if I got swept away with the tumbleweeds that have been blowing around here. So, instead, I took a break. Which is to say, I cooked something and took photos of it for myself instead of someone else. And, for me, I decided to make a little breakfast for dinner. Or, perhaps a little desert for dinner, depending on how you look at it.
My mom used to make dutch babies, and we’d have them with freshly sliced peaches. This recipe, isn’t hers, but my guess is that it is pretty darn close. I found it on the Whole Foods website after 15 minute flipping through indexes of my cookbooks didn’t give me what I was looking for. The batter is about as simple as it gets… equal parts flour and milk with eggs, whipped smooth but not too fluffy. Poured into a cast iron skillet over melted butter and stuck into a hot oven and you have a show that is more entertaining than 90% of what is on TV these days. Seriously, I was so mesmerized watching the batter puff up… like someone was blowing into it in little spurts. Every few seconds, another quick puff. I even had to go grab my camera and take a shot of the magic… of course, like all good magic, it stops as soon as you try to record it. Or, in my case, as soon as I opened the oven door. Luckily, it was just about done puffing anyway.
You can top a dutch baby with any kind of fresh or stewed fruit. Or even just a little squeeze of lemon. But, I’ve been craving a vanilla apricot sauce since I had a vanilla apricot jam a few weeks ago. And, of course, it’s apricot season here in Seattle.
PS: I am so excited about our Italy trip and we already have probably more than 5 weeks of stuff to do… but I’d love to hear suggestions if you have them! We will mostly be in Umbria.
Dutch Baby Pancakes with Vanilla Apricot Sauce
This recipe makes a mini dutch baby, perfect for one for breakfast or two for dessert.
pinch of salt
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup milk
1 T unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Whisk the eggs with the pinch of salt until they just begin to get a little fluffy. Gradually whisk in the milk and flour and continue to whisk until smooth.
Melt the butter in a 5-inch cast iron pan. Then, pour the egg mixture over the butter. Move the pan immediately to the hot oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it puffs up over the edges of the pan and is a rich golden brown on the edges.
To serve, top with the vanilla apricot sauce and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
Vanilla Apricot Sauce
This sauce is fruity and light, but not very sweet. If you like yours a bit sweeter, you can add some sugar into the apricot sauce. It makes just enough for the mini dutch baby pancake.
1 vanilla bean
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup Sauterne or other dessert wine
Blanch the apricots and peel off the skins. Slice into quarters, discarding the pit.
Place in a small pot, on medium low heat, with the lemon juice and wine. Slice the vanilla bean open and scrape out some of the seeds into the pot. Then throw the whole bean into the pot. Give it a stir. Cook until the sauce thickens, but not so long that the pieces of apricot loose their shape. Remove the vanilla bean before serving.