My mama has a foolproof dutch baby recipe from an old friend of hers…it’s probably 30 years old and is in her recipe folder titled “Marmalade Pancake.” I’ve made it several times and it just works like a charm if you want a lovely, puffy, golden brown dutch baby on a Sunday morning (or a Tuesday morning…the morning just doesn’t matter one bit.) I’d recently watched this fun little Southern Foodways Alliance short documentary about a buttermilk maker in Eastern Tennessee, which got me thinking… could I make a dutch baby with it? I worried a bit that the buttermilk would be too thick and would weigh the batter down, although it’s known for reacting beautifully with baking soda in biscuits to create fluffy masterpieces. I decided to give it a go for our weekend family brunch, but added a taste of water to thin the batter out just slightly, PLUS I blended all the ingredients using an emulsion blender, which I think helped ensure things turned out just right. I was so excited that the thing puffed up that I forgot to dust it with powdered sugar…. the pictures may have suffered, but the taste didn’t. I’m not sure that I’ll go back to regular old milk in my baked goods ever again.
What you do:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and melt your butter in a skillet. (If you choose to double the recipe to serve more people, you can melt the butter and pour it into a sheet cake pan or a cookie sheet with a high lip.)
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, flour, vanilla, buttermilk, and water, and blend well using an emulsion blender (If you don’t have one yet, use your regular old blender, but SERIOUSLY, why don’t you have one yet?)
Pour the light batter into the skillet with the butter. Some butter will cover the edges of the batter, and that’s ok as it’s what makes the dutch baby brown and gorgeous.
Put in the oven for 15 minutes (mine is always perfect at EXACTLY 15 minutes flat) and serve IMMEDIATELY. In fact, because this is like a popover or a kind of pancake souffle, it will start deflating the moment you take it out of the oven. For the maximum “WOW” factor, make sure everyone is sitting at the table waiting on you so you can carry it right over and set it underneath their noses while their mouths drool. Slice into wedges and serve sprinkled with powdered sugar and with a spoonful of marmalade . (It’s also GORGEOUS with berries and syrup.)