I'm always a little creeped out by eating something called a Dutch baby. But I get over it because they're so tasty and easy and lend themselves easily to all sorts of fun flavor combinations, making them a lovely dish for a festive meal. They're wonderful for breakfast, brunch, or a light supper. I actually learned to make them just a couple of years ago from a friend. Recently, she and I had a pear Dutch baby extravaganza (because we had pears and eggs!) playing with the pears and other promising flavors. And while the pear, lemon, cardamom one we had for dessert was lovely, I really thought this savory one, with it's blend of cheesy, smokey and slightly sweet, stole the show. —fiveandspice
Test Kitchen Notes
A delicious and beautiful Dutch baby with well balanced flavors of sweet pear, smokey cheese and the subtle taste of leeks. The pancake batter was velvety smooth and I loved the way it baked perfectly in the the cast iron skillet -- crispy brown edges and a tender center. Fiveandspice's savory and sweet Dutch baby would be a great weekend breakfast or brunch dish for a crowd. For really crispy brown edges, I baked mine for an additional 5 minutes. Note: the 6 tablespoons of butter used to prepare the cast iron skillet pooled at the top of the pancake after baking -- would suggest using 4 tablespoons. - jvcooks —jvcooks
about 6 to 8 as a side
butter (preferably unsalted, but salted also works), divided
medium leek, washed and sliced thinly (just the white and very beginning of the light green portion)
medium pears, ripe but still firm, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
Preheat your oven to 425°F. In a large sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium and cook for about 3 minutes, until it starts taking on a little nutty smell. Add in the leeks, stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until they begin to soften. Then, stir in the pears and cook for another 3 or so minutes until they are browned and softened as well. Remove from the heat.
Put the eggs, milk, flour, salt and pepper into a blender and whirr them at high speed for about a minute, until they are well combined.
Plop the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter into a 12-inch cast iron skillet (or, if you don't have one, you can use a baking pan of a similar volume) and put the pan into the oven. Wait until the butter is completely melted and sizzling, then (carefully!) take the pan out and swirl the butter around to make sure the pan is coated.
Spread the leek and pears on the bottom of the cast iron. Pour the egg mixture on top. Finally, sprinkle the cheese all over it and put it back into the oven for 20 minutes, until browned on top. The pancake will puff up as it bakes (though not as much as a dessert one that doesn't have the chunks of deliciousness).
When finished, take the Dutch baby out of the oven and scatter the chives (or another fresh herb of your choice - like thyme or sage) across the top. Serve warm. If you want to, though, you can also make the Dutch baby ahead of time, set it aside, and then reheat it in a warm oven for 10-15 minutes right before serving.
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.