Are you all familiar with the wonderful mail order catalogue called Levenger's? Recently I ordered a beautiful cherry work table for Hope and couldn't wait to tell my father the cabinet maker that it came disassembled and I was able to put it together on my own except for the long 5 inch screws that needed heavy duty muscle to penetrate all the way through from the frame to the table top (thanks Elliott!).
In the process of purchasing the table I gave my e-mail address for confirmation. Since this include the words "cake bible," Linda (who was delightfully helpful taking my order and arranging for delivery here in the woods) asked me what that meant. This led to a request for a breakfast quiche. I persuaded her to accept this fun and easy-to-make breakfast popover instead!
This is reprinted from my book The Bread Bible.
Oven Temperature: 425°F.
Baking Time: 1 hour
Advance Preparation: at least 1 up to 24 hours ahead
This batter recipe makes for a beautiful, dramatic and very quick and easy breakfast. It is actually a giant crater-shaped popover, perfect accommodating a filling of sautéed caramelized apples, peaches, or fresh berries, and a billow of crème fraîche or whipped cream.
As is so often the case, it is the simplest things that require the most work to perfect. My goal was for a Dutch Baby that had crisp puffy sides but a tender, almost custardy bottom as opposed to an eggy/rubbery one.
The final result of many tests is this crunchiest, puffiest and most tender version, due to coating the flour with the butter before adding the milk, the addition of 2 extra egg whites and enough sugar to tenderize and flavor it.
For a "Baby Dutch Baby," to serve 2, simply divide the recipe in half and use an 8-inch oven-proof skillet (preferably cast iron). Decrease the baking time at 350°F to 15 minutes and make the slits 10 minutes before the end of the baking time.
Serves: 4 to 6
Equipment: An 11 inch steel Dutch Baby pan or cast iron skillet (if using the cast iron skillet, lower the initial 425°F. to 400°F.)
1) Mix the batter
Food Processor Method
In a food processor with the metal blades, process the flour, salt, and sugar for a few seconds to mix them. Add 2 tablespoons of the melted butter and process until it resembles tiny peas, about 20 seconds. Scrape the sides of the container. With the motor on, add the milk, the eggs, and egg whites, and the vanilla and process for about 20 seconds or until the batter is smooth.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, the sugar and the salt. Add 2 tablespoons of the melted butter and use a fork to mash and mix it in until it resembles tiny peas. With a rotary beater or whisk, slowly beat in the Beat in the eggs and egg whites, one at a time, beating about one minute after each addition. Beat until the batter is fairly smooth (small lumps of butter remain visible). Beat in the vanilla extract.
2) Let the batter rest
Allow the batter to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking, or cover and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. Allow it to come to room temperature and beat it lightly before baking.
3) Preheat the oven
At least 30 minutes before baking preheat the oven to 425°F. Have the rack towards the bottom level.
4) Prepare the pan
Remelt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the pan. Use a small pastry feather or brush, to coat the entire interior with the butter. Three minutes before baking time place the pan in the oven and heat it until the butter is hot and bubbling.
5) Fill the pan and bake the Dutch Baby
Remove the pan from the oven and pour the batter on top of the hot butter. Bake at 425°F. 15 minutes, lower the heat to 350°F and continue baking for 30 minutes or until puffed around the edges above the sides of the pan and golden brown.
6) Release the steam
15 minutes before the end of the baking time, open the oven door and quickly make 3 small slits in the center to release the steam and allow the center to dry more.