Sunday, June 19, 2011

Saturday Breakfast: A Tasty (Dutch) Baby - the Seattle Treat

Why did so many Seattle breakfast places serve Dutch Babies (do they still?) and why did I cook them so regularly when I lived there? I really didn't know until I looked it up for this post. A couple of  weeks ago I suggested that my CPIC Lynn (cooking partner in -delicious- crime) and I make one for Saturday breakfast. Well, yesterday Lynn did the cooking using a recipe from Gourmet  that I found on the Epicurious site, and we garnished our servings with the boysenberries and tayberries that I'd purchased earlier that morning at the market.

Back in the late 1800's Victor Manca, a restauranteur from Utah, moved to Seattle and opened a family-run restaurant (Manca's Cafe) that was in business until 1952. He introduced the Dutch Baby dish within a few years of its opening and it was even trademarked in 1942. Victor Manca's great granddaughter recounts the history of the cafe here.
2nd Avenue & Cherry Street (Seattle, WA) c. 1902-1903. Manca's Cafe is shown at the far left. Door sign (to the left) reads, "Ladies Private Dining Room" and the sign next to the cafe name on the top reads, "Oysters, Steaks & Chops". The original image is here. The current view of 2nd Avenue & Cherry Street (via Google Maps/Street View) is here.

I don't think the original recipe exists but it's more or less a sweet version of Yorkshire pudding and similar to the German Apfelpfannkuchen. Dutch Babies are a delicious, crispy and custard-y delivery system for fresh fruit but a dash of maple or fruit syrup is certainly called for if you don't have fruit.

Recipe: Dutch Baby with Powdered Sugar, Lemon Juice and Berries

Serves 4
Adapted (slightly) from Gourmet/2009

Equipment: 10" cast iron skillet.

  • 3 large eggs at room temperature 30 minutes
  • 2/3 cup whole milk at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces (it works just fine w/2 tablespoons, but not less than that)
  • Powdered sugar
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Berries or other seasonal soft fruit

  • Preheat the oven to 450F / rack in the middle.
  • Beat eggs with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and frothy, then beat in milk, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and continue to beat until smooth, about 1 minute more (batter will be thin).
  • Heat the skillet in the oven for about 10 minutes - but test it after 5. When you take it out, test it by dropping just a dab of butter in the bottom. It should sizzle madly, but not immediately smoke.
  • Add butter to hot skillet and melt, swirling to coat. Add batter and immediately return skillet to oven. Bake until puffed and golden-brown, 18 to 25 minutes.
  • Serve immediately dusted with powdered sugar, lemon juice and berries.


Susan said...

What a spectacular Dutch Baby. How did you get such height on yours? I never made one, nor ate one in all the years in Seattle. Look what I missed out on. I need to get myself a CPIC. What fun!

Ms. Divina Loca said...

We preheated the cast iron skillet in the oven for a few minutes before adding the butter. We remembered to take the eggs out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes in advance - recipe by the book.

My older sister was the first one I knew that made one (she taught me) and then I started seeing (and eating) them at Phinney Ridge Cafe and (the original) Julia's 14 Carrot Cafe in Wallingford.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting I will have to see if I can find them here in Europe and see how common they are or are not. Looks to big for one person, how well does it keep?

Ms. Divina Loca said...

Thanks for commenting. The Dutch baby pictured was cooked in a 10" cast iron skillet and served, with fruit, 3 for breakfast. They really should be eaten right after they come out of the oven when they're warm.