Sunday, February 14, 2010

Kicking off Pancake Week with a Dutch Baby

A very Happy Valentine's Day to all you lovers' out there! I would also like to take a moment to wish all my visitors celebrating Chinese New Year's  a Healthy, Prosperous, Happy New Year!

When I woke up this Sunday morning I decided to "baby" myself a bit with one of my all time favorite breakfast treats; a Dutch Baby. My apple filled German Pancake doesn't look as tantalizing as T.W.'s Dutch Baby Pancake but I must admit, it was quite pleasing to the taste:) No, I didn't eat the whole thing but I sure came close.

According to an article published in Sunset Magazine, Dutch Babies were introduced in the early 1900s in Seattle at Manca's Cafe. The recipe created by the Manca family was based on a "family secret." It's interesting to note though, at one time, Manca's Cafe owned the trademark for the term Dutch Babies.

The most famous of his dishes is the Dutch Baby. While I personally do not know its derivation, many believe that the Dutch Baby is based off of the German Apfelpfannkuchen. The original recipe is a Manca family secret. But close approximations can be found on many places on the web. Martha Stewart even has a version!

The family lore is that one of Victor's daughters (one of my grandfather's sisters) named the Dutch Baby as a child. Perhaps they got named "Dutch" because of her inability to pronounce "Deutsch" - the German word for German.

What is a Dutch Baby you ask? Well, I don't usually refer to wikipedia without further research but in the case of these delectable clouds of puffiness, and since I'm still babying myself today...

A Dutch baby pancake, sometimes called a German pancake, is a sweet breakfast dish similar to Yorkshire pudding and derived from the German Apfelpfannkuchen. It is made with eggs, flour and milk, and usually seasoned with vanilla and cinnamon, although occasionally sugar is also added. It is baked in a metal pan and falls soon after being removed from the oven. It is generally served with fresh squeezed lemon, butter, and powdered sugar or fruit toppings or syrup.

There are bushels of Dutch Baby recipes on the internet. I didn't use the following recipe found at Food In Every Country website but I'm sure it's just as heavenly, literally. Dutch Babies have this natural puffiness about them, they are simply hard to say no to.

Apfelpfannkuchen (Apple Pancakes)
• ⅔ cup flour
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 4 eggs, beaten
• ½ cup milk
• 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and cut into thin slices
• 1½ sticks butter (¾ cup)
• 2 Tablespoons sugar
• ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
• Confectioners sugar
1. Combine the flour with 2 teaspoons sugar and salt and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk together.
3. Gradually add flour mixture to the eggs and milk, and beat until smooth.
4. Melt ½ stick (¼ cup) butter in a saucepan.
5. Add apple slices and cook gently until apples are softened.
6. Mix 2 Tablespoons sugar and cinnamon together and stir gently into apples.
7. In a 6-inch frying pan, melt 2 Tablespoons of butter.
8. Pour in batter so that it is about ¼-inch deep.
9. Cook until the bubbles on top of the batter burst and the pancake begins to set.
10. Spoon about ¼ of the apples over the pancake and cover with more batter.
11. Allow it to set, and then gently turn the pancake to brown it on the other side.
12. Repeat to make 3 more pancakes.
13. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve.
Serves 4.

In other parts of the world, today is celebrated as Pretzel Sunday. Melanie @ My Kitchen Cafe has a recipe for a Chewy Soft Pretzel and Kelli offers Soft Jumbo Pretzels should you crave a pretzel or two today.

How do you plan on celebrating pancake week? Anyone going to Mardi Gras for Fat Tuesday? What about hitting the pancake houses? I hear IHOP is celebrating Pancake Day a week later this year. I know for sure Perkins is having a Pancake Day happening on the 15th. As for me, I'll be right back here on Pancake Day celebrating with some Shrovetide tidbits and delicacies. See ya then...
P.S. If you have a favorite pancake recipe you would like to share, be my guest and leave the link in comments. enjoy:)

Before I go, I must offer a note of thanks to a man by the name of Moses Coates. Why? The first U.S. patent for an apple peeler was filed by Moses Coates, of Downing's Field, Pa., on February 14, 1803. Now, how would I have peeled those apples without an Apple Peeler?

Chinese New Year's Links
1. Chinese New Year Food Superstitions
2. Chinese New Year Cupcakes - Nian Gao
3. For A Smooth Chinese Year of the Tiger & To Increase Wealth
4. "Lucky" food - bread, bun, wonton, dumpling - the shape of ingot
5. Chinese New Year Royal Icing Cookies (Selby's are adorable:)
6. Chinese New Year 2010 @ My Sarisari Store
Dutch Babies & German Pancakes
1. Making a Dutch Baby pancake is child's play
2. Lazy Weekend Dutch Baby Pancakes @ the Kitchen Wench