Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Dutch Baby Pancake

Dutch baby pancakes are a really yummy, low-maintenance, easy breakfast or brunch food.  The pancake is super puffy and also crispy and buttery around the edges, yet a little bit custard-y in the center.  Sorry for using the word "custard-y" because not only is that not a word, but its a really weird non-word.  I can't think of a better way to to describe the texture of this delicious breakfast though.  If you have never had a dutch baby, my description may sound odd but they are very good.  Think kind of like a cross between a regular pancake and french toast.  

One of my favorite things about making a dutch baby is that it just cooks in the oven, by itself without having to be dipped or flipped and you can bake bacon or sausage right along side of it without any mess or fuss.  So with only about 3 minutes of actual interactive prep time and about 20 minutes of baking time you can have a beautiful and tasty breakfast.  I really enjoyed the traditional garnish of melted butter, lemon juice, and powdered sugar but this would also be great sprinkled with maple or fruit syrup of some kind.  Let me know what kind of toppings you like to serve your dutch babies with!       

Dutch Baby Pancake

3 large eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter

To garnish: additional melted butter, freshly squeezed lemon juice, powdered sugar, maple syrup, fresh fruit, etc

Preheat your oven to 425F.  This recipe works best if your eggs and milk are room temperature. You can warm cold eggs up by placing the whole eggs in warm water for a few minutes and you can microwave the milk for about 15 seconds to take the chill off.  Add the eggs, milk, flour, vanilla, and salt to a bowl and whisk vigorously until very well combined or blend these ingredients together in the blender.  Heat a 10" cast iron skillet on the stove until very hot.  Add the butter and once it has melted, pour in the pancake batter. Do not stir! Carefully place the hot skillet in the center of the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  The pancake will be very puffy at first and will deflate as it starts to cool.  The traditional garnish for the dutch baby is melted butter, a squeeze of lemon juice, and lots of powdered sugar.  However, you can top this pancake with anything that you like! Just cut wedges of the pancake to serve and enjoy!

Inspired by Food Wishes

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Individual Vanilla Pudding Parfaits

Vanilla pudding parfaits are a simple and delicious dessert that require very little effort yet are sure to impress.  Homemade vanilla pudding can best be described as silky, creamy, and amaaazing! Add some lightly sweetened whipped cream, crunchy toasted cookie crumbs, and fresh, ripe fruit to the pudding and you have yourself one beautiful, easy dessert. Trust me when I tell you that taking the time to make this dessert from scratch, using quality ingredients and a little bit of love, that it will be absolutely worth it.  So yummy!!

As I often tell you guys, this dessert is totally customizable.  You can substitute whatever your favorite flavor of pudding is, change what kind of cookie crumbs you use, and switch up the fruit to what is in season or even use candy.  Try chocolate pudding with Oreo cookie crumbs and gummy worms for a worms and dirt theme or butterscotch pudding with cinnamon graham crackers and sliced bananas for a banana cream pie parfait!  Mmm come to think of it, using crushed snickerdoodle cookies in this version of the recipe would have been delicious!  Kids go wild for this dessert, especially if you let them assemble it themselves.  This is a great stress free recipe for the holidays that your guests, kids and adults alike will love.

If you are looking for an equally impressive but slightly richer version of this dessert, check out my black forest trifle recipe from a couple of years ago.  There is a great chocolate pudding recipe over there or you could take that concept and apply it to this recipe just by adding some pound cake!  I hope you enjoy!

Individual Vanilla Pudding Parfaits

3 1/2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup white sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp butter, divided
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1/2 cup powdered sugar
6 graham cracker cookies
Fresh berries of your choice

In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup sugar, salt, 1/2 cup milk, the eggs, and egg yolk until well combined.  In a medium pot, heat the remaining milk and remaining sugar over medium heat until hot and the sugar has dissolved.

Remove the pot from the heat and slowly whisk the milk mixture into the egg mixture until well combined.  Be very careful to do this slowly so that you do not scramble your eggs.

Pour this mixture back into the pot and place it over medium heat again.  Stir the pudding constantly and as the pudding heats up and begins to bubble it will thicken.  Once the pudding coats the back of a spoon and it holds a solid line when you drag your finger across the spoon, it is done.  Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and 1 tbsp of butter until completely combined.

Transfer the pudding to a clean bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap right against the top of the pudding so that a skin does not form.  An optional step here is to pass the pudding through a sieve into the bowl, if you think you have little lumps of cooked egg or sugar clumps in your pudding.

Place the pudding in the refrigerator to cool completely. This will take a few hours.

To crush the graham cracker cookies, place them in a zipper baggie and smash them with a mallet, rolling pin, or your hands.  They can be as finely crushed or as chunky as you wish.  Toss the graham crackers with 2 tbsp of melted butter.  Optionally you can toast this mixture on a baking sheet at 350F for about 5 to 8 minutes.  This step enhances the flavor of the graham crackers.

Combine the heavy cream and powdered sugar in a large bowl and whip to soft peaks.  Take about 1/3 of the whipped cream and fold it through the cooled pudding mixture until just barely combined.

To serve, you can either do it buffet style and let your guest create their own pudding parfaits or you can assemble them yourself and serve.  Just put layers of graham cracker crumbs, pudding, whipped cream, and fresh berries into little bowls, small mason jars, or dessert dishes.