I love dutch baby pancakes, a.k.a. Big Pancakes. But I love their potential as vehicles for fruits, jams, and other interesting toppings even more. Whether you're looking for a sweet breakfast to kick off Mardi Gras, need to use up some eggs before Lent, or just like pancakes, this recipe should be next on your list.
Dutch baby pancakes are also a grand party trick to pull on your guests. A thin, unassuming batter of eggs, flour, and sugar is poured into a hot pan, and through the miracle of steam, the pancake emerges from the oven puffed and golden with crispy sky-high ridges around the edge.
I love to carry the skillet directly to the table so everyone can get an eyeful before grabbing a wedge for their plate. Those impressive domes also tend to settle as the baby cools, so it's best to serve with all expediency.
The actual eating of the pancake, however, should be done as slowly and leisurely as possible. Especially when you're serving it with a caramelized sauce for dipping and plenty of hot coffee for washing down each sweet bite.
Roasted Cherry Dutch Baby with Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Sauce
For the Dutch Baby: 1 cup (5 oz) all-purpose flour 1/4 cup (2 oz) white sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup (6 oz) whole or 2% milk 4 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 12- or 16-oz bag frozen sweet cherries 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter
For the Sauce: 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup heavy cream 1 teaspoon cinnamon pinch salt
Heat the oven to 425°F.
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor or blender and pulse several times to combine. Add the milk, eggs, and vanilla and blend continuously for 10 seconds. Scrape down the sides, and blend continuously for another 10 seconds or until there are no more lumps and the batter is frothy. Let the batter stand in the blender for 15-20 minutes to give the flour time to absorb the liquids.
Meanwhile, toss the cherries with the brown sugar. Scatter them in a 10-inch cast iron skillet or other oven-safe dish of similar size. Roast for 18-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cherries look wrinkled and their juices have turned syrupy.
Add the butter to the cherries and return the skillet to the oven for 2-3 minutes to melt the butter. Stir the melted butter into the cherries. Whiz the pancake batter to froth it up again and pour it immediately over the cherries. Don't stir.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. When finished, the edges of the pancake should be domed and turn deep brown while the middle should look puffed and golden. The dark cherry juices will make the edges look nearly burnt, but continue cooking until the middle looks done.
While the pancake is baking, prepare the sauce. Combine the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the butter has melted, and let the butter and sugar come to a boil. Off the heat, whisk in the cream, cinnamon, and salt. Return to heat and let the sauce come back to a boil. Immediately remove the pan from heat and set the sauce aside.
Serve the dutch baby as soon as it has finished baking. Drizzle some sauce over the entire pancake and then divide it into eight wedges. Serve with extra sauce on the side.