Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Paean to the Incredibl[y cheap] Edibl[y amazing] Egg, Part I

[To the tune of Sheryl Crow's "All I Wanna Do." I apologize in advance - it came to me this morning while assembling my fried egg sandwich in a bleary-eyed state.]

All I wanna do
Is eat some eggs
I got a feelin'
I can eat cheap for days

All I wanna do
Is eat some eggs
Until my carton runs out and I
Gotta make a run to the store

Even if the price of eggs has increased significantly over the past couple years, they are still a great value when you consider that one egg can be a pretty filling snack (or a whole meal for someone with better portion control than the average Owen). Plus, they do really cool things, like make your food puff up or help it stick together!

The Dutch Baby, or baked pancake, is a true testament to the egg's magical powers. Minutes after being placed in an oven, a seemingly mundane pancake batter morphs into an otherworldly balloon of fluffy deliciousness. Owing to the addition of a few more eggs than your typical pancake batter, the result is thrilling.

I got to know the Dutch Baby at The Original Pancake House. The first time I saw one, I was mesmerized, both by its dramatic aesthetic and by my amazement that a lone individual could consume something of such impressive size. But mine eyes deceived me: the Dutch Baby is, upon closer inspection, a hollow bowl with a texture far more delicate than that of a regular stovetop pancake. Even a non-Owen should be able to polish off the whole thing in a few minutes.

You could order one at the Original Pancake House for about $10, or you could make one at home for about $0.65. I've experimented with three different recipes, courtesy of Orangette, Alton Brown, and The Joy of Cooking. I hesitate to disparage anyone else's recipe, since I am famously inept at following directions of any kind. But Orangette's recommendation of an extravagant four eggs produced a Dutch Baby that was too puffy and misshapen to even fit on any plate I own. Alton Brown's recipe is too fussy and particular - not my style for a lazy Sunday breakfast (or any time, really) - and calls for only two eggs. That's just not enough puff. The Joy version calls for too much sugar. And Joy and Orangette both require more butter than seems prudent. The following recipe borrows from all three sources and, if I may say so myself, gives birth to the perfect Dutch Baby.

Tragically, my camera broke, so I recommend that you go to Google Images and search for "Dutch Baby." The search will yield pictures of dramatic pancakes and blond infants wearing funny hats.

Recipe: The Most Delicious Baby You Ever Did Eat (aka Dutch Baby aka Baked Pancake)
Serves 1. This recipe was MADE for the lonely people. You could make more than one, but you would need one cast iron pan for every person at the table.

3 T butter
3 eggs
1/2 c whole milk or half-and-half
1/2 c flour
2 T sugar
2 lemon slices (optional)
powdered sugar for sprinkling

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a 10-inch cast iron pan over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, mix together the eggs, milk, flour, and sugar to make a batter. Pour the batter into the pan, without stirring anything, and cook for one minute. Transfer pan to heated oven and bake 12-15 minutes, until puffed up and starting to brown. It's okay if the center seems a bit undercooked. Remove from oven, transfer to a plate, and serve immediately with lemons and powdered sugar (I recommend sieving the powdered sugar for evenness and conservation).


Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...


diana's blog

Anonymous said...

Oye, Economical Epicurean, I like jer comments. When jew gonna publish a cookbook?

Jack said...

Hard-boiled egg for dessert! Mmmm.