Peach Dutch Baby Pancake
September 17, 2009 § 2 Comments
A few weeks ago my aunt gave me three Iron Lodge cast iron skillets to welcome me into my 23rd year.
My intro to cast iron cooking began two summers ago on the Vermont farm. Before harvest time, Bill, our boss, provided the farm interns with an unlimited supply of tofu, rice, beer and a cast iron pan. Meg and I ate tofu and rice every day, Monday through Sunday, for the entire month of June. Come early July, we welcomed the additions of rainbow chard “farm sushi,” beet soup and homemade raspberry jam to our suppers, but tofu and rice (spritzed with tamari) was an old standby. By the end of three months, farm house carpet now a few shades darker, rooms crowded with mattresses and two giant, glass jugs of homemade kombucha on the counter, all six interns were old hands at frying tofu. Meg and I opened teeny baggies of unidentified spices and sprinkled (or dumped, in the case of oregano) a few pinches of good-smelling-spices atop the golden cubes while the rice water bubbled, one burner over.
I loved our cast iron. I know they can be a turn-off: they’re heavy, for one, and cleaning cast irons with soap is a no-go. Also, they’ll rust in the dishwasher. But once you familiarize yourself with the proper maintenance, these skillets open doors. Once you buy a set, these pans are so heavy-duty you’ll never have to buy another. Already, that’s a clincher for me. Cast irons also have wonderful versatility. Take frittatas: you can start sautéing vegetables and eggs on the stove and then, to crisp-up the liquidy eggs on top, you can finish cooking in the oven. (If you like eggs and are less than enthusiastic about flipping omelets, let me sell you on the frittata!)
Dutch Baby pancakes are a lot like frittatas. You start by melting a couple tablespoons of butter on the stove and gently cooking the sliced peaches to expel some of their juices. Then you finish the cooking in the oven and watch the pancake nearly explode over the edges. (It’s quite a show; I actually sit down in front of the oven, light on, with a cup of coffee, just to watch.)
This Peach D.B. Pancake was the perfect recipe to christen my new cast iron. I got a lot of inspiration from Eggs on Sunday and Molly Wizenberg. If you’re not shy around butter, I highly recommend reading this little piece by Molly who is an absolute hoot.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large (or 2 medium; or 3 small) peaches, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup white flour
1/2 tablespoon evaporated cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup milk (or milk alternative)
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a 9 or 10″ cast iron skillet (or oven-proof pan), heat 3 tablespoons of butter on the stove. Once melted and bubbly, pour aside approximately 2 melted tablespoons to use later. In the remaining butter, sauté peaches until they just start to soften (about 45 seconds to 1 minute).
CAST IRON TIP: Cold foods are more prone to stick to the pan. If your peaches are refrigerated, set them on the counter until they reach room temperature. Or, if you’re short on time, just use a generous amount of butter (1.5 tablespoons, or so) and stir rapidly to avoid sticking.
2. When peaches begin to soften, scoop out with a slotted spoon and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients. Gently beat eggs in a separate bowl and add to flour mixture along with milk and butter. Whisk until lumps disappear.
4. Make sure the skillet is liberally coated with butter so that the Dutch Baby doesn’t stick. Pour batter into the warm skillet. Arrange sliced peaches on top, at the center. Place in the oven and bake 15-18 minutes until puffy and golden.
5. Remove from oven and let set 3-5 minutes and then serve. Leftover Dutch Baby’s are good, but they’re nothing like the hot, out-of-the-oven pancake. I’d recommend cutting the recipe in half or third, if you’re eating solo. This recipe could serve four modestly or three generously.
Diet Notes: Nut-free