On mornings when we’re not making a mad dash to head out the door to work, real breakfast, rather than the perfunctory, unevenly buttered piece of toast and only half-drunk cup of coffee, is in order. Fluffy biscuits and scrambled eggs, crisp waffles drenched in syrup, savory sausage links and a stack of pancakes…or today’s specials: egg-in-a-hole and Dutch Baby.
The egg-in-a-hole is a simple construction: trim out a round from a slice of bread, gently crack an egg into it, and cook in plenty of butter until the bread is golden brown and the egg has set. We used a thick piece of buttery brioche loaf and opted for a duck egg; its large sunny yolk is velvety and rich and perfect for dunking that round brioche bit into.
The big showstopper in this post and at any breakfast is the Dutch Baby, an oven-baked pancake that’s all crisp mounds and burnished ridges. If you’ve never made one, do stay close to the oven and flip the light on so you can see the batter heave and huff in a scorching hot skillet and go from liquid pool to impressive puff. The recipe that follows is actually one I (Maria) developed while working at Cook’s Country Magazine. I must have made at least 50 of them during the process, so rest assured this a tried and true formula. Though you can make the baby in a large skillet, I recommend using the cast iron skillet; it’s straight, rather than curved sides, and capacity to hold heat, make for blue ribbon results.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ¼ cups skim milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 pint fresh blueberries or other fresh berry
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. Brush bottom and sides of large cast iron skillet with oil. Place in oven and allow to heat for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine flour, cornstarch, sugar, lemon zest, and salt in large bowl. In second bowl, whisk eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla. Slowly whisk in wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
Open oven, slightly pull out oven rack with skillet, and pour in batter. Bake until pancake is puffed, golden, and crisp, about 20 minutes. Transfer skillet to cooling rack and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately with berries.
Makes 1 serving
4 tablespoons butter
1 slice brioche loaf
1 duck egg
Salt and pepper
With a biscuit cutter or kitchen shears, cut out a 2-inch round from the center of the bread slice. Brush both sides of bread and cut-out with 1 1/2 tablespoons butter. Melt remaining butter in skillet over medium heat. Place bread in center of skillet and cut-out alongside.
Crack duck egg into hole and season with salt and pepper. Once egg white begins to turn opaque and set, flip bread over with spatula and continue cooking until done, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Serve immediately.