Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Mini Cast Iron and Baby Dutch Babies

Ever since I've been obsessed with cast iron, I have been obsessed with MINI cast iron. Mini skillets and single serve pans caught my eye immediately and I haven't been able to say no to a cute little pan since the first time I laid eyes on one. The obsession has reached epic proportions since finding cast iron cookie kits and brownie kits in some of the stores. Not only do those come with a tiny skillet, they often are holiday themed, and the skillets are shaped like stars, pine trees and even hearts! I die!!

It took a long time for me to be converted to a cast iron fan. I always swore they were too much trouble. I didn't want to mess with seasoning and then the fussy cleaning and reseasoning after you use them. I had a glass top stove and thought they were too heavy and would scratch the surface. I just didn't get it. Then one day I got my first skillet. It wasn't new. My sister gave me one of theirs. It had been handed down from her mother in law, and was well seasoned already and the perfect size for me to cook in.

The first burgers and steaks cooked in that skillet made me a convert. No skillet I have ever owned gave such a perfect sear and beautiful crust on the meat. I still was a little whiny about the after care but after a few times, it became no big deal. Now I find myself seeking out recipes to use that skillet- baked recipes like pot pies, anything that needs a good hot sear like steaks and roasts, well, pretty much anything. I made Alton Brown's chicken fried steak in that skillet and it was as close to  heaven as a food can be. I am positive the skillet made the difference.

Fresh berries and sliced bananas are delicious with the
pancakes, topped with a little syrup.
Recently I became the happy owner of several mini cast iron skillets. Once the initial child-on-Christmas-morning  excitement wore off I set to thinking about what I was going to make in them. Individual dinners were an obvious choice, and I have a really great idea that I'll be sharing soon, but I wanted something I could make RIGHT NOW with ingredients I have in the kitchen right now without having to go to the store and get a bunch of stuff (did I say I am obsessed??). Most of the time when I don't have anything planned for dinner and I don't want to head to the store, that means we'll be having breakfast for dinner, and like a bolt of lightning it hit me- oven pancakes! Oven pancakes, often called Dutch babies, remind me of popovers- a somewhat thin batter poured into the hot pan with lots of sizzling butter, so tender inside and crispy on the edges. Cast iron is the perfect vehicle for a dish like that, so let's make some.

Baby Dutch Babies
1/4 cup butter
3 large eggs
3/4 cup half and half
3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar

Divide the butter between two mini cast iron skillets. Place in a 425 degree oven while mixing the batter.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Add the half and half, the flour and the sugar and whisk until no large lumps remain- you want the batter to be fairly smooth without overmixing.

Flavor tip- You can add spices or extracts to the batter to enhance the flavor. I like adding a splash of vanilla or some lemon zest, if I have a lemon on hand.

Remove the skillets from the oven and pour the batter into the hot melted butter. 

Return to the oven and bake until the edges are puffed and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Serve with additional butter, syrup and fresh berries.

This is a fantastic weekend breakfast dish, and allows you to be a little lazy while baking it. Unlike regular pancakes you don't have to stand in front of the stove flipping, the oven does all the work while you browse through the newspaper. I am a big fan of breakfast for dinner and love changing this recipe up by adding cut up cooked breakfast sausage to the pan before adding the batter, or serving lots of crispy bacon on the side. Fresh berries and syrup are a must, and fruity syrups are even better. If you are serving kids just remember the skillets are HOT and remind the kids to be very careful.

Wondering how the cast iron worked as a non-stick surface for making an oven pancake? Here is the pan immediately after sliding out the Dutch baby, see for yourself!

1 comment:

  1. What time is breakfast? I'll clear my calendar! (That Baby looks BEAUTIFUL!)