I’ve aired my predilection for oatmeal and granola many times here already, so it may surprise you to hear that one of my favorite morning meals has nary an oat in sight. This isn’t an everyday breakfast, rather a lazy day treat, brunch food if you will. There’s nothing overly complicated in its preparation, though it does take a bit longer than pouring a bowl of cereal, or making a pot of oatmeal. Luckily, your effort will be rewarded by a house perfumed by the scent of bacon and roasting apples, and if you’re like me, childlike glee at the anticipation of what’s to come.
Usually my boyfriend Andrew and I do our own thing for breakfast; he’s not quite the oatmeal believer that I am, and tends to stick to more savory fare. Dutch babies are the perfect compromise; I get my sweet (apples and maple syrup), he gets his savory (bacon!), and there’s something about the magic of the transformation from runny batter to a golden puffed beauty that never fails to excite.
The timeline: I decide to make dutch babies for breakfast, we (mostly me) sing our dutch baby “song”, more a chant really, it goes like this “dutch babies, dutch babies, dutch babies!”* (with bravado). I start cooking. I sneak a few peeks at the puffing in progress (through the oven window, don’t open the door and let out hot air), when it’s reached maximum volume, I beckon Andrew to the kitchen to gaze in awe at the dutch baby, he musters some groggy-eyed enthusiasm, sweet man that he is. We eat. Rarely a bad day follows.
*Look, I never boasted of my lyrical genius.
A quick side-note: Interestingly enough, dutch babies aren’t actually a Dutch food, rather their heritage is German-American, their closest German relative being apfelpfannkuchen. It’s believed by some that the etymology of the name is based on it’s introduction to the American palate by way of the Pennsylvania Dutch (German immigrants). This recipe is in some ways a hybrid of the two, as apfelpfannkuchen includes apples in the batter, whereas dutch babies are traditionally served with just lemon and powdered sugar.
I love this savory sweet combination of flavors, but if you’re more of a purist this recipe works great for a traditional dutch baby. Just omit the apple mixture and bacon, and finish with a hefty squeeze of lemon juice (½-1 lemon) and dust with powdered sugar. Served this way it’s also delicious, and reminiscent of a lemon crêpe, you know, if crepes were puffy…
≈ 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 large apple (I prefer pink lady or granny smith), large dice
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
juice from half of a lemon
pinch of kosher salt
pinch of cinnamon (optional)
2 slices thick-cut bacon
≈ 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
4 large eggs
½ cup whole milk
½ cup (2 ½ oz) all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons (⅛ oz) granulated sugar
scant ½ teaspoon kosher salt
maple syrup for drizzling (I prefer grade B)
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Melt 1 teaspoon butter in a pie plate or cake pan; swirl to coat the bottom. Toss the diced apple, brown sugar, lemon juice, salt and cinnamon together in the pie plate. Set aside.
In a ten-inch* cast iron skillet (or similar sized cake pan), cook the bacon to your preferred degree of doneness over low-medium heat**. Remove the bacon to a cutting board, do NOT discard the rendered bacon fat. Chop the bacon into roughly ¼-inch square pieces. Place the skillet in the preheated oven with an additional teaspoon of butter.
While the bacon is cooking, assemble the batter. In a blender, mix together the eggs, milk, sugar, flour and salt til well blended. It will be very thin, similar in consistency to crêpe batter.
Carefully remove the cast iron skillet from the oven, swirl the bacon fat and butter so that it coats the sides of the skillet. Pour the batter into the hot skillet and evenly sprinkle all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon on top of the batter. Place the skillet in the oven, as well as the pie plate with the apples. Cook for 17-23 minutes, or until the dutch baby has puffed up considerably, the center is set, and the edges are golden brown. Avoid opening the oven door more than necessary as it will lower the oven temperature, which will result in a less puffy dutch baby.
Admire your creation, and then sprinkle with the apples and reserved bacon, drizzle with maple syrup. Serve immediately.
*The original recipe suggests an eight-inch skillet, but I’ve used a ten-inch (I don’t have an eight-inch skillet, and the ten-inch size fits the bacon better) one many times, and it works just fine. If you use the smaller size up the baking time by a couple minutes.
**It’s important to cook the bacon in the skillet (rather than the microwave or baked in the oven) as you will use the rendered bacon fat later.
What’s your go to lazy day breakfast?