In honor of Pancake Day (aka Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras...) I decided to treat myself to a Dutch Baby with silky smooth blood orange curd. A Dutch Baby is a German Pancake, but Dutch Baby sounds so much more fun, and I've got babies on the brain (less than a month till the due date!). The name is a bit confusing because the Dutch tend to make thin, crepe-like pancakes so enormous they engulf a plate and peak over the edges and a Dutch Baby is a puffed, cakey pancake. However the name came to be, the Dutch Baby is delicious. Dutch Babies bake in the oven so if you are the one who tends to man the pancake griddle while others enjoy hot pancakes, try this because the entire pancake is cooked whole and then slice into portions (you could of course bake little individual Dutch Babies in baby cast iron skillets too).
DUTCH BABY PANCAKE
- 4 eggs
- 1 Tbs vanilla sugar, or sugar with 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- pinch salt
- 4 Tbs butter, room temp
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place your cast iron skillet into the oven to heat up. I use two 8-inch skillets for this amount of batter and this recipe serves 4 people. You could also use cake pans if you don't have a cast iron skillet.
Make sure your eggs and milk are cold. In a blender whizz eggs and sugar for a minute and then stream in cold milk. Continue to blend till frothy, add sifted flour and pinch of salt and blend for 1 minute. Make sure everything is well incorporated - the flour can stick to the sides.
If using two pans, divide butter in half. Take hot skillets out of the oven and put a portion of butter in each. It should melt quickly - swirl around the pan. Pour the batter into the skillet(s). Put in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F and continue to bake for an additional 10 minutes. The edges should be puffed and golden brown. When it first comes out of the oven it will be puffed all over and by the time you get it to the table to serve the middle will deflate.
Serve with Blood Orange Curd, recipe follows. The heat of the pancake gently melts the curd and the end result is divine.
You can also have the Dutch Baby with any sort of pancake topping - warm maple syrup, macerated berries, and fresh lemon juice with sugar are some of my favorites. If you want to go a bit savory try warm maple syrup with bits of crispy smoked bacon.
I had lots of juicy blood oranges from Italy and decided to tweak my lemon curd recipe for blood orange curd. This method for making curd is a bit different than most citrus curd recipes - read through before making. It also should be made the day before you want to serve it so it has a chance to set up to the perfect thickness. The end result is a super rich and silky curd.
- zest of 4 blood oranges
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
- 3/4 cup sugar
- pinch salt
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 sheet of gelatin**
- 10 oz unsalted butter, soft
Zest blood oranges, then juice them. Put zest and juice in a pot with sugar and salt. Heat mixture on medium low. Meanwhile crack eggs into a bowl and gently whisk to mix together yolk and white. Also, bloom your sheet of gelatin in cold water.
When the blood orange juice comes to a simmer, take off the heat and pour into the eggs, while whisking. Do this to temper the eggs. Pour the entire mixture back into the pot and keep on low heat while moving the mixture with a spatula to thicken. Take care it does not curdle. Thicken until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Add gelatin and stir in - it should dissolve quickly.
Immediately strain into a food processor (use your finest mesh strainer and press through with a spatula). Turn the food processor on and drop knobs of butter until it is all incorporated. While not totally necessary I strain the mixture a second time (once the butter is added) into a clean bowl. Cover directly with plastic and chill in refrigerator overnight.
**I much prefer using gelatin sheets (Gelita brand from Germany) to powdered gelatin. If they are unavailable to you at your local store, they are available through many online speciality food shops. If you don't want to buy a whole box, you can buy 20 sheets from King Arthur Flour.