Brunch Series – Dutch Baby

I can’t help but giggle a little every time I hear the name “dutch baby”. 

It’s a rather funny name for a pancake.  The dutch baby is one of my husband’s favorite breakfasts.  He likes ordering it at pancake houses and then cracking a joke about how it is the best way to eat an infant, or some other joke of questionable taste.

Dutch babies look like you took a large, oversized pancake that deflated and flopped back on top of itself.  Because, essentially, that is what a dutch baby is – a type of  German pancake.  In fact, the word dutch stands for “Deutsch” or German, kind of like the Pennsylvania dutch.  These are the fun facts you learn when you marry someone who is German and has an affinity for pancakes.  And a dutch baby is De-licious and somewhat reminiscent of an eggy popover.  It has a crispy crust and custardy, but light center.  I prefer them served with freshly squeezed lemon and  copious amounts of powdered sugar.

This was my first try at a dutch baby, and I have to say, it turned out great!  I was a little concerned because they seem so large and intimidating at The Pancake House.  It turns out, there is very little to be afraid of.  In fact, this might be one of the simplest, quickest brunches EVER.  There, I said it.  Now try it out for yourself.

Foodiecrush has a great Dutch Baby recipe and little graph that explains how to make it with great ease.  I am not even going to attempt to recreate their explanation, as it is seamless.  Check out the website!

Lemon Victoria Sponge Cake

Firstly, apologies.  I know I’ve been a bad blogger.  Life caught up to me.  But never fear faithful followers!  I have not quit cooking.  In fact, I’ve been cooking nearly as much as ever.  I just haven’t been posting about it.  I pledge to try harder.

It is fitting that I am writing about this cake for 2 reasons.  First of all, I missed my blog’s one year anniversary.  I never even posted any recipes that month!  In addition, I made this a short while ago for a friend who was celebrating her birthday!  (Happy belated birthday Rach)  She is also the Matron of Honor in my wedding.  She asked me if I could try to recreate a classic English dish her grandmother always makes her.  Now, please don’t hold this cake to the standards of traditional Victoria Sponge Cake.  There are many things that the traditional cake will or will not have that just doesn’t *quite* make it the same.

For instance, I could not make the cake in crazy British measurements.  Not that they are crazy in general; just crazy hard to replicate here in the States.  Exhibit one: 7 inch sponge cake tins.  I didn’t know a 7 inch round pan existed.  I have one smaller pie plate that would have cut it, but no second pie plate for the second layer.  So I did not use the pie plate.  Instead, you can use two 8×8 square pans.  Exhibit 2: Funny names for items like caster sugar and icing sugar.  These are just superfine and powdered sugar, respectively.   Exhibit 3: Directions in ounces in grams.  This is actually a brilliant way to bake.  Europeans are much more precise in their measurements when baking, so they use scales to get the exact weight of the ingredient they are using.  While this is much more accurate, most American kitchens don’t have a scale.

Needless to say, I had to do some math and some research.  But, in the end I had an actual cake that had a striking resemblance to an actual Victoria Sponge cake.  The most amazing thing is this recipe is actually pretty simple.  There are only a few ingredients and you can easily customize it.  As long as you are careful with your technique, you can easily have a homemade sponge cake in no time.

I used a recipe from this site.  It’s a really fun site that also explains a lot of the conversions.  It also has fun history facts about some of the ingredients, which is super cool if you are a food nerd like me.   But I won’t make you do the math.  Here is the American conversions for the recipe.  You can find superfine sugar at most large grocery stores.  The Domino brand is especially easy to find.

1 cup of butter, softened

3/4 cup of superfine sugar

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

zest of one lemon

1 Tablespoon of lemon juice

Raspberry preserves and powdered sugar to serve

Preheat the oven to 325.  Cream butter and sugar together.  The website explains that you want to do this, “until you get a pale, fluffy mixture that drops off the spoon easily”.  Beat the eggs, adding them into the butter and sugar mixture a little at at time.  It is important to do this slowly.  The best way to do this is add about a tablespoon of egg, then beat.  Add another tablespoon of egg, then beat.  Keep repeating until all the egg is incorporated.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture.  Again, take your time folding this in.  Fold in lemon zest and juice. Make sure the mixture can slide off the back of a spoon. If your mixture is a little too thick, add more lemon juice.

Line 2 8-inch round cake tins with parchment paper.  Grease if you are worried.  Fill the tins evenly with mixture.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Cake WILL fluff up.  Thats good.  🙂  They will be springy in the center when done.  The most common way to serve this is with a thin layer of raspberry preserves between the two cakes, the sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Rosemary Lemon Pork Cutlets

Pork CutletFirst, I must apologize for my long hiatus.  School and life have gotten a little hectic, and in turn, I have neglected my blog.  Hopefully, this lovely recipe makes up for it!

This week’s recipe is from a guest writer – by boyfriend!  Because of my busy schedule, he has been cooking a lot lately.  The other day he made this absolutely decadent meal for me so I asked him if I could use it for the blog.  He obliged, as he didn’t really have a choice!

This is a great, quick meal that is cheap and easy but will taste like a gourmet chef came to your home and slaved for hours over the best cuts of meat.  It starts with a simple pork cutlet, or pork strip.  Mine came from Iowa.  I’m from Iowa, so I’m a little biased, but I thought they were really fantastic.  You want a thin (but not too thin) piece of tenderized pork.  If you don’t have a tenderizer, simply ask your butcher to do this for you.

The next step is to use an infused oil.  Most infused oils are just an average olive or canola oil with different aromatics in it.  Let this combination sit long enough, and the oil will take on the taste of whatever is in it.  We did not have infused oil, so my boyfriend heated some canola oil on low and added lemon juice and dried rosemary.  It worked well.  Make sure that after doing this for about 20 minutes, raise the heat so that the oil is hot enough to fry your pork.

Next, bread the pork.  This is fairly simple.  Beat an egg or two in a bowl.  On another plate, spread out some bread crumbs.  Season them with salt, pepper and lemon pepper seasoning.  Dip the pork in the egg mixture and then the breading.

Finally, fry the pork until done on both sides in the infused oil.  When done, let the cutlet drain on some paper towel for a couple of minutes before eating.  The frying keeps the pork flavorful and moist.  The lemon and rosemary add a delightful tang and herbal finish.  This meal really was a sweet and simple surprise.