NoHandle, my favorite Guest Blogger recently had a birthday...which I somehow missed remembering...so Happy Birthday NoHandle!
In honor of his big day, we are again turning the blog over to him for a Guest Post. GO NoHandle!
Browning Up Baby
A few years ago, Natasha sent me a recipe for something called "German Baby". It looked interesting, and I tried it. I wasn't sure how it was supposed to come out, and I wasn't too impressed with the results; it didn’t rise very much, yielding an unappealing texture.
Later, when I was poking around the Internet, looking for some recipe to devour, I found references to Dutch Baby, some of them with apples. Some had pictures, and better descriptions of the finished product. I had misplaced the original recipe, but this seemed similar. It was time for a second try.
The recipe I decided to take on was one found on cooks.com. No pictures, but it just seemed right. And it was simple too. They use Dutch here like you would say Pennsylvania Dutch, meaning German. I don’t know where the Baby part comes from. Perhaps it a corruption of another German word.
So, I pulled out my shiny new mandolin (the slicing kind) that daughter-in-law Jennifer had given me for Christmas (at my prompting; I must have been thinking ahead to just this application) and sliced up a couple of apples. The recipe allows that a cast-iron skillet is OK; I would say preferred. Into my skillet went the sinful amount of butter, then sugar and cinnamon, followed with the sliced apples. I cooked the apples in two batches for better carmelization. Fairly quickly the whole mass was browned nicely, and keeping warm in the pan.
While it was cooking, I put together the batter, using a hand mixer rather than the blender the recipe calls for. It worked as well as the blender would have, although I did beat it at high speed for extra time to whip in a bit of air, which probably helps the batter to rise better. I wouldn’t recommend the stick blender approach unless you have a fairly powerful one. Then it's into the frying pan with the batter, pouring it on top of the cooked apples, and into the oven with the skillet. I think that part of getting this to rise properly is to keep the pan warm. I live at altitude and it took fully 20 minutes to brown the baby. I didn’t feel the need to make any adjustments to the recipe because of altitude though.
After resting a couple of minutes (that seems to be immediately enough), and topping with powdered sugar, the dish is ready to serve. It makes enough for four delicate, or two hungry, people. We were somewhere in the middle; there will be a wedge or two to cheer up lunch. I made this as a breakfast treat, but I think Natasha and Walt cook it up for afternoon tea.
I recently received another copy of Natasha's recipe, and it was nearly identical to the one from cooks.com. Here is the Natasha's recipe (with minor editorial changes, and unconventional decimal measures because the fractions don’t always display correctly):
3 Tablespoons butter
2 apples (Braeburns or McIntosh)
3 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (plus more for topping)
.125 teaspoon cinnamon (1/8 teaspoon)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (ReaLemon is OK for this)
3 eggs, at room temperature
.25 teaspoon salt (1/4 teaspoon)
.5 Cup milk (1/2 cup)
.5 Cup flour (1/2 cup)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Melt butter in (oven-proof; I prefer cast iron) skillet and take off heat. Remove 2 T and set aside in tall bowl (suitable for stick blender) or blender.
Peel, core and slice apples. Put slices in large bowl; add confectioners sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice; toss to mix.
Return skillet to burner and heat to medium. Add apples and cook, stirring often about 3-4 minutes until tender, but still hold shape.
Add eggs, salt and milk to butter in bowl/blender and blend together. (If blender, add flour too.) Blend in flour until smooth.
Spread apples evenly on bottom of skillet and pour batter on top. Bake in the PREHEATED oven for about 20 minutes, until golden, but not brown in the middle, and puffy around the edges. Turn over onto platter. (You can just server from the skillet if you want.)
Dust with confectioners’ sugar (optional) and serve immediately. Serves 2-3. To satisfy a 3rd person, add an additional apple. To serve 4-5, use 4-5 apples, double other ingredients, and use a 12 inch pan.