It turned into November here around mid-October, before I even had time to celebrate that wonderful month in this blog (but I have been celebrating the birth of my grandson, Levi, in mid-October!).
Still, even in November, there are the sights and smells and tastes of autumn.
Cool rainy weather inspired me to go back to the old staples. The minestrone soup, the leek-potato soup, the roasted vegetables and baked squash, the mushroom risotto, the slow-rise bread and any-night pizza.
It’s also still a wonderful time for apples and pears. At the farmers’ market in Port Townsend, I was thrilled to find Cox’s Orange Pippin apples, a wonderfully flavorful apple that is rarely grown in the U.S.
We visited friends in Cashmere, and Maggie and Scott gave us Bosc pears and King David apples (a variety I’d never tasted before — and it is a fantastic apple: crisp and juicy with a delicious tart-sweet flavor).
Four of the pears ripened at once. We ate two of them for dessert last night; then this morning, I peeled and sliced the other two and sauteed them with a touch of sugar and cinnamon, then laid them in a skillet and poured over an egg-y batter to make a Dutch Baby.
Yes, you read that right. It’s a type of pancake that’s cooked in a skillet inside the oven, where it puffs up into a golden wonder, like a giant popover. (The name derived from the German-American immigrants known as Pennsylvania Dutch, “Dutch” being a corruption of the word “Deutsch.” The “baby” part is said to have been coined by a Seattle restaurant in the 40s.)
My dad used to make this for a Sunday breakfast or light supper (we always just called it “oven pancake” or “German pancake”). Not only is it easy to make, but it’s so impressive when it comes out of the oven. Any way you make it –with fruit on the bottom (apples are more traditional) or atop or not at all– it’s a keeper.
Here’s Marion Cunningham’s recipe for Dutch Babies, from The Breakfast Book
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Butter one 12-inch skillet or four 6-inch small skillets (with ovenproof handles) or pans (you can use small pie pans or cake pans).
- Break the eggs into a small mixing bowl and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add the milk and blend well.
- Sift the flour and salt onto a square of waxed paper. Lift the waxed paper up by two corners and let the flour slowly drift into the egg and milk, whisking steadily. Or slowly sift the flour and salt directly into the egg mixture, while whisking to blend and smooth. Add the melted butter and mix briskly so the batter is smooth.
- Pour the batter into the pan or pans and bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. If you are baking small pancakes, they will be done after 15 minutes. If you are baking just one big pancake, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake another 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle lemon juice over the pancake (or pancakes) and dust the top(s) with confectioners’ sugar. Serve at once.