Pancakes have been an obsession of mine, an obsession that began with my Grandma's blueberry buttermilk pancakes she fried in bacon grease- a decadent treat. Sour cream apple pancakes, winter squash pancakes with fresh nutmeg, classic diner style absurdly fluffy pancakes, buckwheat raspberry pancakes, simple crepes with lemon juice and sugar... I love them all.
Dutch baby pancakes, a singular pancake that puffs to dramatic heights in the oven, are a weekly staple for me. The batter is so simple, coming together in one bowl, and there is no flipping or stovetop tending required. When perfectly baked, a dutch baby pancake has crispy golden edges and a creamy, custard like center, this one barely scented with vanilla. Perfection on its own, but even better with tart lemon juice and crunchy raw cane sugar. A berry jam or quick berry compote spooned on top before serving is also lovely.
-2/3 cup whole milk
-2 tablespoons sugar
-½ teaspoon kosher salt
-½ teaspoon vanilla extract
-½ cup sifted flour (I prefer to use organic pastry flour, but all purpose works well too)
-1 tablespoon butter
-9" or 10"cast iron skillet
Preheat oven to 425 F. While oven is preheating, place a 9" or 10” cast iron skillet in oven. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until slightly foamy, then add vanilla extract, milk, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine. Add sifted flour and whisk well, making sure no lumps remain. Let batter rest for 10 minutes while oven continues to heat.
When oven is pre-heated, pull hot cast iron skillet from oven, add 1 tablespoon butter to hot skillet and swirl butter around to coat bottom and sides of pan. Pour batter in skillet and immediately place back in oven. Bake for 12 minutes, then take a peek to see how golden and puffy the pancake is- if you can avoid opening the oven door by using your oven light, that's best as it will prevent the pancake from deflating early. Keep baking until the pancake is dramatically puffed up around the edges. The edges will be darker than the center, you’re looking for a puffy cloud like pancake with a creamy center and crisp edges. Serve immediately. I like mine topped with freshly squeezed lemon juice, raw cane sugar for crunch, and fresh berries or jam.