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19 October 2012

Dutch Baby Pancake with Caramelized Plums in Brandy, Cinnamon & Lemon Zest


Our house has grumpy little people when the sun rises in the morning.  Each little person hides deeper under the covers when we call out. 

"Rise & shine kids!"  Grunts.  
"Breakfast is ready!"  Grunts.
I draw the curtains to let the morning light come in.  More grunts.
"You will be late for school!"  Grunts.
My older son stands up but sports the grumpiest morning expression in his face.  
My younger daughter unites herself with the bed.  When she does that, it only means one thing.  It's a quiet declaration of a difficult morning.  Whereas if she stands up and takes her breakfast, then it's a promise of a smooth morning.  


Crying, running after an escaping toddler, accomplishing some cleaning in the bathroom, putting the clothes on and explaining for the umpteenth time why school is important, are our daily morning activities at home.  At 8 o'clock in the morning, it's like my husband and I just finished a marathon and we are ready to call it a day.   Are your mornings like ours?


My husband takes the kids to school on his way to work so as soon as I bid them goodbye and close the front door, I can't help sighing with relief.   Waking up daily to a noisy, chaotic morning takes away my desire to listen to anything at home.  I enjoy the complete silence.  Even music disturbs me now, spoken by a once-upon-a-time music crazed person.


What music meant for me once was replaced by cooking and enjoying the fruit of my labor in silence.   It's therapeutic and it helps me start the day right.  I like both savory & sweet breakfasts.  A typical Italian breakfast that I usually have is a croissant, a glass of freshly squeezed  orange juice (if in season) and espresso. 


But sometimes, a craving for different breakfasts, both savory & sweet overtakes me.  The other day, I had a big desire to make some pancakes and while I was eyeing the fresh plums in the fruit bowl, I already had my breakfast mentally mapped out.  I thought of a dutch baby pancake with caramelized plums spiked with brandy and spiced with cinnamon and lemon zest.  I couldn't wait for morning to come.  The usual morning chaos didn't deter my enthusiasm. 


I have to be honest and say that the slices of the dutch pancake above are what remained of my breakfast.  I was meaning to take a picture of the whole pancake in the cast iron skillet but hunger pangs won.  This is the second dutch baby pancake that I have shared in my blog.  If you are curious about how it should look like straight out from the oven and see the frutti di bosco sauce I paired it with, click on this link

Let me share with you a picture of the organic fruits from the farmer's market I recently visited and our quince harvest from our tree.

Meantime, I hope you have a good weekend everyone! 




Dutch Baby Pancake with Caramelized Plums in Brandy, Cinnamon & Lemon Zest

Ingredients:
Serves 2 - 3

Dutch Baby Pancake:

Ingredients:
Serves 2 - 3
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out or 1 teaspoon extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Icing sugar
  • Fresh mint leaves (optional)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  2. Meanwhile, combine eggs, milk, flour, sugar, vanilla and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.  You can also whisk this manually but putting everything in the blender is much faster and easier.  Set the mixture aside.
  3. When the oven has already reached the right temperature, put the butter in a large ovenproof cast iron skillet, between 10" to 12".  Place the skillet in the oven until the butter melts.
  4. When the butter has already melted, remove it from the oven and swirl the melted butter around so it evenly coats the skillet.
  5. Pour the mixture into the skillet and put back the skillet inside the oven.  Cook for 20 - 25 minutes or until the Dutch Baby is puffed and golden brown. 
  6. Serve the pancake with the caramelized plums on top.  Sprinkle with cinnamon powder, lemon zest and icing sugar.

Caramelized Plums:

  • 5 - 6 medium plums, seeded & quartered
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons brandy 
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (plus a dash for sprinkling on the pancake)
  • Zest of 1 lemon (leaving some for garnishing)
Directions:
  1. While waiting for the pancake to cook, warm up a small saucepan.  
  2. Melt the sugar with water.  Let it cook until it slightly changes color.
  3. Add the butter.  Add the plum slices and lemon zest when the butter has melted.  
  4. Add the brandy and flambè.  
  5. Sprinkle with the cinnamon powder.  Cook for about 1 minute more.  Set aside.