Going Dutch

My dad spent a lot of time at Piedmont Hospital in the 80s. He had a kidney transplant in 1988 and between that and the visits before and after the transplant with his doctor’s office being at the hospital, I knew that place like the back of my hand. Across the street was an Original Pancake House. We used to stop in almost every time we went and I always got the same thing: a Dutch Baby and a side of strawberries and cream. I have some incredibly fond memories of those days and times with my dad and a German pancake is comfort food for me. That restaurant is now a CVS. There are other locations scattered about but now I just make them at home.

I use Alton Brown’s Recipe because it’s the best  I have found (duh, it’s Alton Brown) but I have just (not to toot my own horn but I’m totally tooting my own horn) improved upon it.

How, you ask? Well, that’s easy. Chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better. And anyone who knows me knows that I’m a cocoa snob, so don’t go making this with Hershey’s, ok? That’s an order. Get thy browser over to King Arthur Flour and order thee a bag of Bensdorp Dutch-Process Cocoa before you start this recipe. Go on, I’ll wait.

Ok, so this is adapted from Alton’s recipe. He lives just a few miles from me so we’re on a first name basis. Well, we would be if he knew who I was (drop me an email, Alton and let’s go to the range and then have a beer!). He gets credit for the base recipe but making it better with chocolate is ALL ME! I mean, look at this, it’s beautiful. And it tastes phenomenal. The smell of the chocolate wafting through the air…mmmmmmmm. Because I added the strawberries and powdered sugar before taking the photo, the pancake had time to fall a bit. These babies don’t stay puffed up for long!

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Better Than Alton’s Chocolate Dutch Baby Pancake

Ingredients
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup plus 2 T  all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Bensdorp cocoa (even if you don’t use the full-fat Bensdorp, at least don’t use the cheap stuff!)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 T milk (whole or 2% is fine)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar and cut strawberries, for serving (optional)
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put 1 tablespoon of the butter in a 10-inch cast iron pan and heat the pan in the oven for 10 minutes, until it reaches cooking temp. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and set aside to cool slightly. Mix together the flour, cocoa, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, milk, vanilla extract and melted butter, and blend together. Pour the mixture into a blender and blend on high until smooth and frothy, 30 to 45 seconds. Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and immediately pour the batter into the center. Bake for 19-23 minutes, do not open the oven while baking. The Dutch baby will puff up in the center and the edges will be dark and crispy. Serve warm topped with strawberries and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
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Mile High Chocolate Meringue Pie

Have a mentioned I’m bad about writing my recipes down? Oh, that’s right, that’s one reason I started this blog, That and because I’m one opinionated beeyotch.

I am so bad about just throwing stuff in a pot and seeing what happens. Which is strange because in my baking, I’m meticulous. We’ll blame it on the multiple personalities in my head.

I took special care to  pay attention to my process this time. That was a good thing because this pie turned out FABULOUS! So, without further ado, I present…

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Mile High Chocolate Meringue Pie

1/2 cup GOOD cocoa – don’t use that Hershey’s crap! I used full-fat Bensdorp

1 cup sugar

1 Teaspoon espresso powder (optional but it deepens the flavor)

pinch of salt

1 cup hot water

2 cups heavy cream (there’s no such thing as diet chocolate pie, sorry)

1 Tablespoon vanilla

3 Tablespoons cornstarch, combined with a little water to form a slurry

Combine sugar, cocoa, espresso powder and salt in saucepan. Break up any lumps and combine thoroughly. Add hot water and stir over medium heat until consistency is smooth. Add cream and continue to cook over medium heat. Bring to a boil, add vanilla and cornstarch slurry. Stir continuously over medium-low heat until a thick pudding consistency is reached. Remove from heat. Fill a pre-baked pie shell with filling. Top with meringue (recipe below), making sure to form a seal all around the pie, and bake at 450 for about 5 minutes – watch closely – you just want to brown the meringue as desired. Allow pie to thoroughly cool and chill in fridge to set.

Meringue:

4 egg whites

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Mix egg whites with cream of tartar using whisk attachment until foamy and gradually add sugar. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.

You can omit the cream of tartar, but it serves as a great stabilizer and gives it a better texture, in my opinion.

Enjoy!