If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you already know that I am not one to spend overly much time in the kitchen first thing in the morning. Just not my thing. It takes at least 1 cup of coffee to start these engines and even into the second cup, I’m not sure I totally trust myself with knives. But just the idea of caramelized apples, cinnamon and brown sugar encased in a puffy, eggy Dutch baby had me re-thinking all of that. I even got up a little earlier and made the coffee a little closer to espresso strength, thinking it best to be semi alert and focused.
And wasn’t I pleasantly surprised to find that peeling apples and mixing cinnamon sugar first thing in the morning was actually rather nice. It could have been the coffee, but if you have to be cooking in the early morning, these are the aromas you want wafting about your kitchen. Transcendent. And it really didn’t take much time at all to make. It was ready in the amount of time it took to heat the oven. You may have noticed that I didn't say "preheat" your oven. Evidently that word bugs some people. Oh, and there are now SO many words that we're not supposed to use when writing about food (read all about it here). I think I can say "good", and possibly "delicious" is still allowed. But not "preheat". Someone out there thinks it's redundant. Whatever. :-)
Anyway, in case you've never made one (you're in for a treat!), Dutch babies are sort of a hybrid of a popover and a pancake and part of our regular weekend breakfast rotation. We love them for their ease of assembly and their extreme deliciousness. So when I saw a recipe on the Kitchn website for an apple version, I was immediately entranced and had to have it, even if it meant a little more work before breakfast.
I adapted their version to my Dutch baby recipe and what emerged from the oven was nothing less than ethereal, as the brown sugar and apples had indeed caramelized and created a crispy edge and the eggy custard puffed up dramatically and the whole thing smelled like an apple pie coming from the oven, but this was breakfast. Oh lordy, what a breakfast.
And here’s the thing if you’ve never made a Dutch baby before, like popovers, the minute you remove them from the oven, they collapse. They begin immediately to shrink down and lose that beautiful golden puff that develops from the high oven heat, so it was all but impossible for me to capture that moment on film. By the time I got the sucker to the table and took the photo, it was already sinking down, so you’ll have to take my word for how gorgeous this was as it emerged from the oven.
(This not very great photo was taken of a version I made with extra apples. Amazing.)
Or don’t take my word for it. You really must make one for yourself. Really. If you’re like me and not so much into serious cooking in the morning, The Husband thinks this would also make an amazing dessert. I think he’s right. When he said that, I immediately thought of a clafouti, and how this would be a beautiful dessert to serve warm with a little whipped cream sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Oh my.
OK then. This should keep you busy and out of trouble for a while. Find some apples, make some coffee and get your Dutch Baby on. This is the kind of breakfast we dream of (I know, I know... of which we dream - no dangling participles :-) Here’s the recipe…
Apple Cinnamon Dutch Baby
Recipe Adapted from The Kitchn
This makes such an amazingly delicious breakfast. As usual, it's best to use a good baking apple here - I've used Braeburn, Jonagold and Fujis, all with great success. After peeling the apples, I cut them into quarters, cored them and then sliced them cross-wise. Also, I didn't use all of the cinnamon sugar mixture on the apples before baking, saving the leftovers to sprinkle over the top after baking. I suggest you do the same - it was so good!
2-3 baking apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices (about 3 1/2 to 4 cups)
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons white sugar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
4 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix the 3 tablespoons of white sugar with the cinnamon and ginger and set aside.
Cut up the butter into small pieces, and place in a 10-inch cast iron skillet (or other heavy skillet). Melt the butter over medium high heat and then sprinkle the brown sugar over the top. Place the apples on top of the brown sugar and then sprinkle with the sugar/cinnamon mixture (I saved save some of this for the top). Place in the oven to caramelize for about 5- 10 minutes till bubbly.
Meanwhile, prepare the batter by placing the eggs in a blender and blending until foamy. Add milk, flour, salt, nutmeg and vanilla and blend until combined.
Remove the pan from the oven and quickly pour the batter evenly over the apple mixture and place back in hot oven. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until puffed and nicely browned.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture. Cut into wedges to serve, or mix the extra cinnamon sugar mixture with a little Greek yogurt to serve alongside for topping.