Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dutch Baby for a Leisurely Sunday Breakfast

Today was one of those Sundays where there was time for breakfast consisting of something more satisfying than cereal or toast (we're a soccer family). Flipping through my many 'must try' recipes in the Brunch folder, I had wanted to try Oatmeal Pancakes, then realized I had no old-fashioned oats - they all get used up for my granola at the Market. So, back to an oldie but a goodie: Dutch Baby, which is a cute name for a puffed apple pancake that gets baked in the oven.

The apples I used were Pink Lady, by default, as that's all that was in my fridge. Granny Smith is another great choice, always the go-to apple for baking since they don't fall to pieces.

Most recipes will talk about using an oven-proof skillet (such as cast iron) - I don't have an appropriate pan in my home kitchen, that one resides in the commercial kitchen where I teach classes. Don't despair, you can just as easily cook the apple mixture separately in a regular pan, preferably non-stick pan (to make sure you get all the gooey goodness in the baking dish).

I used a V-slicer to slice my apples to about 1/4 inch thickness, just 'cuz I felt like it. This is definitely not required - just cut them into thin slices. If you cut them a little thicker, just cook them a bit longer in the pan before transferring them to the baking dish.

The baking dish - I have a lovely ceramic pie plate that's quite deep that is perfect for this. I have also used a rectangular glass dish, it is not required that the dish be round. For a little added decadence, I also added about a tablespoon-ish of Canadian Maple Liqueur to the apples while they were cooking. What's not to love about that?!


4 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 TSP baking powder
dash salt
1 TSP vanilla
1/2 TSP cinnamon
pinch freshly-grated nutmeg
1 TBSP sugar
2 TBSP butter, melted
1 cup milk

2 apples, peeled, cored & thinly sliced
1/4 cup butter
1 TSP (or more) cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
optional - splash of your favourite liqueur

In a large bowl or 8-cup measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg & sugar. Whisk until no lumps remain. Gradually whisk in the melted butter & mix until completely smooth. Allow the batter to stand for at least 20 minutes, as long as overnight if you want to get a jump start on this the night before (keep in fridge).

Preheat oven to 425F.

Melt the 1/4 cup butter in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Sprinkle half the sugar and half the cinnamon over, swirling the pan to combine. Place the apples over the sugar/butter mixture. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and cinnamon. Over medium heat, cook apples until softened a bit - they will finish cooking in the oven. Either with a flipper, or just doing that little tilt& jerk motion with the pan, get the apples covered evenly in the mixture. Add the liqueur, if using, stirring to combine. Cook another minute or so.

Pour the apple mixture in a lightly-greased 9" deep pie plate or any other appropriately-sized vessel. Carefully pour the pancake mixture over top. Place in preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to 375F and bake another 10 minutes.

Serve immediately (it will begin to deflate as soon as you take it out of the oven). Serve with warm m-m-m-maple syrup!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Scotch Eggs - Kicked up!

I've been wanting to try baked Scotch eggs for some time. If you're not familiar with these little delights, a Scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg, encased in sausage meat. Usually they are deep-fried, which I never do. A couple years ago I googled baked Scotch eggs, and sure enough, there were baked versions.

At the Farmer's Market in Saskatoon, the annual WinterShines festival, a celebration/embracing of winter is coming up and the Market vendors are being encouraged to remain open a little longer. People coming to WinterShines will presumably be looking for items to buy that can be carried about and eaten while mulling about. The Scotch eggs came to mind, and the chance to finally try them out was here!

I opted to use a mild Italian sausage (hence, the 'kicked up' Scotch eggs) and seasoned breadcrumbs to coat, thinking the flavour would be excellent. Be daring & use hot Italian, if you prefer! I was right - they are like the regular Scotch eggs, only better. If you tend to get grey rings around your hard-boiled eggs, follow my recipe, you'll always get perfectly-done eggs with no rings.

Here's the recipe:

8 eggs
1 pkg (454 g) mild Italian sausage
1 egg, beaten with 1 TBSP milk
seasoned breadcrumbs, to coat (~ 1 cup)

Place the eggs in a pot large enough to hold them in a single layer. Fill with cold water, up to an inch above the eggs. Bring to a boil over high heat; once they come to a boil, removed from heat immediately, cover, and allow to sit for 12 to 17 minutes (12 for smaller eggs, up to 17 for extra-large eggs). Drain pot and rinse eggs with cold water until they remain cool. Note: to make an egg white congeal should an egg crack while cooking, add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water prior to boiling.

Divide the sausage into 6 portions - I was lucky, the package of sausage I used came with 4 sausages, so I just halved them, squeezing the meat out of the casing. In either the palm of your hand or a cutting board, press out the meat into a small patty, making it as flat as you can. Place an egg in the center and carefully wrap/press the meat around the egg, making sure no egg white is peaking through. Roll in the egg wash, then roll in breadcrumbs. Repeat with remaining eggs, then place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to allow the meat to set up and the crumb mixture to dry a bit.

Preheat oven to 400F. Baking on a parchment-lined sheet for 30 minutes, making sure meat is cooked through. Allow to cool, then serve. These are often served cold, making a great snack or a small lunch. Scotch eggs are eaten alone, or with a variety of sauces, often mustard-based.

If you'd like to try them with a sauce: mix together 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 3 TBSP of a fine-grained mustard, 2 TSP honey and 2 TSP lemon juice (or to taste). Or, just plain mustard will do the trick, as well.

As for a candidate for WinterShines, I've decided against it. I will make them for my family, but they are a bit too labour-intensive for what I would be able to charge for them. I am glad I finally tried them - they'll be making frequent appearances in our kitchen :)