I’m such a fan of the Dutch baby. We’ve always called it a puffed pancake – an eggy batter that puffs up all dramatically in the oven, like a Yorkshire pudding. It’s been too hot to have the oven on lately, and one day when it poured rain and the temperature dropped below 20, I cranked on the oven and used a half bowl of withering cherries as an excuse to make one.
You can do a lot of things with a Dutch baby, but in basic terms you can bake the fruit into it, or put it into the bowl-shaped pancake after. Putting the fruit into the bottom of the pan first creates little pockets and holes where the fruit has steamed through; the edge still domes impressively, and the bottom is all lumpy with fruit. I have a few cast iron skillets, and this is a smaller one I tend to use when it’s just for two or three – I use a ratio of 2 eggs, 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup flour for this size, and 3 eggs, 3/4 cup milk and 3/4 cup flour when I use my larger 9 or 10 inch skillets. Everything else stays the same – and to be honest, I never measure my fruit, or the butter and oil I cook it with.
Sautéing the fruit for a minute or two does double duty, softening and caramelizing the fruit while also heating up the pan, as you would when you make Yorkshire pudding; if I was to save the fruit to add afterward, I’d heat up the pan in the oven as it preheats. Honestly, it has taken me longer to write these instructions than it typically does to mix up a puffed pancake – the hot oven does all the work, and you’re relieved of any pancake duty – no standing at the stove, monitoring and flipping to get everyone fed in the morning.
By the way, a Dutch baby also makes a more than acceptable dessert – you can fill the bowl with fruit and whipped cream, or scoops of ice cream and fresh berries and/or a generous drizzle of chocolate or caramel sauce.