Recipe: Apple Dutch Baby - Brooklyn Botanic Garden
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Recipe: Apple Dutch Baby

As a member of a small farm share this year, I received more apples than I could eat raw. I have juiced them and made applesauce, but I still have plenty on hand. So when I recently decided to make a Dutch baby, a wonderful pancake variation I had eaten but not yet made myself, my extra apples were an obvious addition.

I believe that New Yorkers should eat only apples grown locally. Our state is a leading apple producer—second only to Washington—and boasts a tremendous variety and quality of them. While Red Delicious and Granny Smith seem to dominate the marketplace due to their long shelf life, many of us have more nuanced apple preferences. I like Winesap, the tart Cortland, and the cute Macintosh, myself.

But any apple works well in this Dutch baby recipe. These pancakes are like a cross between a crepe, a pudding, and a popover and are actually of German origin—the moniker is a corruption of Deutsch. The dish was publicly introduced Stateside at the historic Manca’s Cafe in Seattle in the early 1900s. It’s surprising that it never became more popular here since it’s delicious and easy to make using readily available kitchen staples—eggs, butter, milk, flour, and sugar. It’s also easy to adapt using alternatives that many people like these days, so alongside each standard ingredient I have listed substitutions that you can play around with. Your brunch guests—or children or roommates—are sure to be impressed with this yummy, no-hassle comfort food.

Apple Dutch Baby

Active prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves 2–4
  • ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour (or try substituting half with whole wheat, spelt, kamut, or buckwheat flour)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or maple sugar or coconut sugar)
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup whole milk (or yogurt, kefir, soy or almond milk)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature (free range/pastured is my preference)
  • Dash of vanilla extract (or lemon, almond or any other flavor you like)
  • ½ stick unsalted butter (or coconut oil or a little of both)
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into ½ inch wedges
  • Optional toppings: Confectioner's sugar and a squeeze of lemon is most traditional, but feel free to try maple syrup, caramel sauce, jam, or honey.
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Whisk the flours, sugar, salt, milk, eggs, and extract together in a medium bowl until smooth. (A lump or two will not ruin anything.)
  3. Melt butter in a 10- to 12-inch skillet (preferably a well-seasoned, cast-iron one, but any heavy ovenproof skillet is fine). Make sure the butter coats the entire pan, both bottom and sides. Add the sliced apples and cook until they soften and begin to caramelize.
  4. Pour the batter over the apples and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until the pancake is puffed up and lightly browned at the edges. (It will be less puffy if you are using the heavier flours, so look to the browned edges as a guide.)
  5. The finished pancake should slide easily out of the pan, but if not, use a spatula to transfer it to a plate, or just server it directly from the pan. Dust with powdered sugar, a squeeze of lemon, or a drizzle of syrup or other toppings and serve immediately.

Ariel Nadelberg is the chef of BBG's Terrace Café.

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Image, top of page: Ariel Nadelberg