Father’s Day is next Sunday, and for years the go-to dish around the Stay at Stove Dad household has been what we call a “Dutch Baby.” It’s a creation of Santa Maria, who got the recipe from her mother. We have it for breakfast, though Santa Maria grew up eating it for dessert, when her mother presented it as a “Hawaiian Pancake.” No matter its name, there’s no question about its appeal. A sort of sweet and savory giant popover that rises radically in the oven and then falls before you can serve it, the dish is as delicious as it is dramatic. Its origins, however, have always been obscure to us. Where did this recipe really come from? Now the mystery has been solved.
Or, more accurately, the mystery was solved in 2007. Amanda Hesser explained the origins of the dish in the New York Times Magazine that year. How did I miss it? 2007 was the year a black-hole of exhaustion swallowed my existence, following the birth of my second child, so I shouldn’t be surprised. That it took me until now to come across Hesser's article online shows how powerful that black hole was. Maybe now that I've found it, this is a sign that I'm escaping its pull!
For as I discovered, the correct name of the dish is “David Eyres Pancake,” as Craig Claiborne christened it in the Times when he first wrote about it, in 1966, describing it thusly, “It was discovered some weeks ago at an informal Sunday brunch in the handsome, Japanese-style home of the David Eyres in Honolulu. With Diamond Head in the distance, a brilliant, palm-ringed sea below and this delicately flavored pancake before us, we seemed to have achieved paradise.”
The Dutch Baby is paradise, but now that I’m sliding into middle age with the speed of a runner stealing home on a squeeze play, I’m eating lighter. This year Santa Maria and company might need to look further afield for a Father’s Day gift for me.
One place she might want to check out is Uncommon Goods, which is sponsoring this post. I’m delighted to partner with them for ideas for Father’s Day. Uncommon Goods is a retailer that specializes in handmade and recycled goods. They are a B Corp, which means they meet strict standards for fair wages, environmental impact, and other issues. And they have really cool things, such as framed blueprints of famous baseball stadiums, molecular-gastronomy kits, and clever “Puzzle Pizza Stones,” that comes apart for storing and cleaning. These and many more gifts can be found in their guide for Father’s Day giving. They sell things for inside the house and out, for women and for men. More of their selections for men can be found here. And they can personalize gifts in many categories.
Never mind my slowing metabolism, the Dutch Baby has a powerful allure. My kids go crazy for it. Pinta wanted it for her birthday a few weeks ago. I think it was then that I realized that I might need a break from it. Once a year is plenty for me. But you should see for yourself. It really is uncommonly good.
Santa Maria's Dutch Baby
- 3 large eggs at room temperature 30 minutes
- 2/3 cup 1 % milk at room temperature
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- ¼ c powdered sugar
- ½ lemon, juiced
Put a 10-inch cast-iron skillet on middle rack of oven and preheat oven to 450°F.
Beat eggs with a whisk until pale and frothy, then beat in milk, flour, nutmeg, and salt and continue to beat until smooth, about 1 minute more (batter will be thin).
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, topped with powdered sugar and lemon juice.
Serve with cherry jam. Mmmmmmmmm.
Image credit: The black-hole image at the top is via By User:Alain r (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons