When you make this on a Sunday morning, you'll have a good day.
There’s something special about a recipe that has become part of you, one that requires no cookbook or thought. You walk into the kitchen and things fall into place, one item at a time. It’s automatic, zen mise en place. From the opening of the refrigerator to plating, you are one with the process. You are the process.
That’s what you want on a Sunday morning, and this special apple pie recipe is what you want to become.
First, let’s hope you like apples, fresh and crisp apples. Because they are the star here, along with a batter that becomes crisp and moist and fragrant and a touch sweet and acidic at the same time.
This recipe, for something called a Dutch Baby, will be admired and savored when you make it on Sunday, and I have no doubt that, in time, it will become part of you. One, your family and friends will request it, so you’ll have no choice but to satisfy them. Two, you will enjoy slicing the apples and putting it all together.
Brockhaus Dutch Baby
3 large Granny Smith apples
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
powdered sugar, for serving
Heat oven to 400°F, and peel, core, and quarter the apples. Slice them into 1/4-inch pieces. Put them in a glass bowl and sprinkle some lemon juice on them.
Mix 3 tablespoons of the granulated sugar with the cinnamon in a small cup. You’ll need this in a minute, so set it aside but keep it close.
Now your cast iron skillet makes its appearance. Cut the butter into chunks and place them in the skillet. If the oven has reached 400°F, place the skillet in it until the butter melts. When that happens, probably in 4 or 5 minutes, take the skillet from the oven and layer the brown sugar over the melted butter.
At this point, you’ll want to be sipping some coffee or tea, whichever you prefer. The skillet will be on the stovetop, and you’ll appreciate the scent and the sight. Once you are ready, arrange the apple slices on top of the butter and brown sugar, then toss the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the apples. The skillet then goes back into the oven, so that the apples and sugar caramelize.
In a large bowl, mix the flour with one tablespoon of granulated sugar and the salt and nutmeg. Add the milk, slowly, making sure that no lumps remain at the end. Then, add the vanilla and, one at a time, whisking each time you add one, the eggs.
Take your time mixing now, and don’t be violent. Just enjoy the repetitive motion, paying attention to how the batter looks. You want a smooth and lively batter. Don’t subdue it, but make sure all of its components are relaxed and ready. Let it rest for 4 minutes or so.
Take the skillet from the oven — by now the apples and sugar will be beautiful — and pour the batter over everything. Place the skillet back into the oven, carefully, and read your paper for 20 minutes or so, call your parents. The Dutch Baby should be set, and the edges a golden brown (or darker if that’s your taste).
Assemble everyone around the table, put the skillet on a trivet in the middle, and sprinkle your Dutch Baby with the powdered sugar, if you wish. Slice, and serve, with maple syrup, honey, or nothing.