You may be wondering—and I would not blame you for wondering this—why on earth June, the author of a vegan baking blog, is advocating the consumption of Dutch babies. “What terrible neurological accident occurred that made you want to eat infants?” you ask. “And not only eat them, but post recipes for them on your blog? And why Dutch babies? Why not French or Portuguese or Moroccan or Vietnamese babies? What did the Dutch ever do to you?”
|Reminds me of a good joke. "There are only two things I can't stand in this world: people who are intolerant of other cultures, and the Dutch." source|
Alas, and don’t be disappointed now, the term Dutch baby refers not to a newborn from the Netherlands but a type of pancake, also called a German pancake, that is baked in a skillet or tin of some sort rather than fried on a stove. I found it is very similar to the Finnish baked pancake I made a looooooong time ago (and I wouldn’t be surprised if they had similar culinary origins). It’s a very versatile concept, and I imagine you could add all sorts of stuffings, like chocolate chips or dried fruit or spices or what have you, but this time I opted for a deceptively simple vanilla bean flavor, the recipe being drawn straight from Shauna Server’s book Pure Vanilla.
|Just look at the frosting on that thing. source|
Although I am a chocolate lover myself, I must admit I was intrigued by the book’s concept. After all, there is something uniquely special about straight-up vanilla ice cream, or vanilla cake, or whatever. And there is a reason we use vanilla in so many baked goods—because the flavor is so perfectly suited to so many sweets. So why not write a whole cookbook with recipes inspired by the pod and all of its flavorful products?
The book begins with a brief rundown of how vanilla bean is produced (the complex process explains pretty well why the bean is so expensive), the different types of vanilla beans, and the various extracts and products that can be made from it. For example, vanilla bean paste. Before reading this book, I’d heard of it, but had little idea of what it was. Now, I’m a huge fan. The syrupy blend of vanilla extract and vanilla caviar is perfect for paler baked goods where the caviar will shine through (as it is used here). The historical origins of modern vanilla bean production is also admittedly fascinating—did you know that the modern method of harvesting beans was developed by the 12-year-old son of a slave in a French colony in the mid-1800’s? Interesting stuff, that is.
The book then proceeds onto the good stuff, the recipes. There are chapters on breakfasts, cakes and pies, cookies and bars, candies and confections, custards and creams, and beverages, including such gems as vanilla cream pie, vanilla cloud cake, and vanilla sea salt caramels, all recipes I promptly saved for later use. The photography is gorgeous, and I can’t say I thought once of chocolate while flipping through the pages. And that’s saying something. Each recipe is infused with a notable amount of vanilla product (whether pure vanilla bean, vanilla extract, paste, or otherwise) that elevates the flavor beyond what is normally used in baking recipes. With a mission of proving that vanilla is not “plain” but actually a complex, exotic flavor worthy of celebration in its own right, I’d say this book is pretty damn successful.
I chose this simple Dutch baby for my first recipe from the book, mostly because I was excited to use my new bottle of vanilla bean paste and I’m a pancake fiend, goddamit, and that cannot be helped. I added a vanilla pancake syrup based off the rosemary syrup I made a while back, and while it’s an optional topping, I highly recommend it for the buttery, vanilla-y flavor it adds to the not-too-sweet pancake.
|You can tell I made this like 10 years ago because of the fresh peaches.|
This here baby is a perfect vessel for your favorite fruits and toppings, so don’t feel restrained to just a few slices of fruit or whatever. Be yourself. Pile on those apple slices and scoops of peanut butter and even, since it’s fall and you have a very good excuse, a big old slather of pumpkin butter. They’d all pair wonderfully with the vanilla pancake.
(Not that I would know.)
So there you have it. A review of yet another cookbook. At long last, here is the recipe.
Vegan vanilla bean Dutch baby with vanilla pancake syrup
Adapted from Pure Vanilla by Shauna Sever
162 grams • nondairy milk • 2/3 cup
140 grams • silken tofu • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons
24 grams • granulated sugar • 2 tablespoons
28 grams • coconut oil, melted • 2 tablespoons
12 grams • vanilla extract • 1 tablespoon
4 grams • vanilla bean paste • 1 teaspoon
90 grams • all-purpose flour • 2/3 cup
1 gram • baking powder • ¼ teaspoon
8 grams • salt • 1 ¼ teaspoons
Vanilla pancake syrup
220 grams • dark brown sugar • 1 cup
120 grams • water • ½ cup
60 grams • maple syrup • 3 tablespoons
13 grams • vegan butter • 1 tablespoon
4 grams • vanilla bean paste • 1 teaspoon
4 grams • vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon
To make syrup, whisk together brown sugar, water, and maple syrup in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer for two minutes, then remove from heat and whisk in vegan butter, vanilla paste, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
When ready to make Dutch baby, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a 10-inch skillet in the oven to heat.
In a blender, combine milk, tofu, sugar, 14 grams • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, vanilla extract, and vanilla paste. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and blend for another 30 seconds to incorporate.
Remove skillet from oven. Grease skillet with remaining 14 grams • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, swirling the pan to coat evenly. Pour batter in skillet. Bake until the pancake is puffed and golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve immediately with vanilla syrup.
|I bet this would work perfectly with mini skillets.|
For more lovely pancake recipes, check out the following links.
Butternut squash pancakes with rosemary syrup. The perfect fall breakfast.
Finnish baked pancake with blueberry chia compote. I really ought to make this again, because it is so good.
Peppermint mocha pancakes. Because winter is coming.
Tiramisu pancakes. Dessert for breakfast.