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Baking Central: Blueberries add big flavor to Baby Dutch Babies

By Kim Ode Tribune News Service

When we’ve barely had our coffee, we can’t take too much drama.

But we still want a great breakfast.

We love those puffed pancakes, whether you call them Dutch Babies or German Puffs or Pannekoeken or Those Really Good Things That Collapse.

They swell solely on the power of eggs and high heat and usually are made in a large cast-iron skillet, emerging from the oven fantastically puffy before deflating to a more pancake-like appearance.

The sight always offers delighting, if fleeting, drama, but also a wish that the ratio of eggy interior to crisp outer shell could be improved.

Turns out it can – by making individual puffs in muffin tins. Call them Baby Dutch Babies.

We used two muffin tins to make a dozen puffs, placing the batter in every other cup to make room for the puffiest puffs possible. But they also can be made in one pan; they’ll just be a little crowded.

The batter comes together in a minute, but greatly benefits from a 10-minute rest before baking. You can use that time to make a super-easy blueberry compote.

In the 20 minutes that the puffs are in the oven, you can put the finishing touches on your meal, then assemble your brunch guests or your fortunate family for the grand reveal. The lofty puffs that you pull from the oven will begin to deflate almost at once, which is the whole idea.

Blueberries are at their peak right now. But if you’re of a more savory persuasion, experiment with other fillings. A Denver-style mix of finely diced and sauteed ham, onions and peppers would be delicious (just nix the cinnamon in the recipe), or maybe a Southern sausage-and-gravy filling would fill the bill.

Whatever you choose for your morning meal, you’ll be ready for whatever drama the day yet holds.

Baby Dutch Babies With Blueberry Compote

From Kim Ode

1 cup flour

4 eggs

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pinch of ground cinnamon or nutmeg, optional

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, eggs, milk, vanilla and salt until smooth. Add cinnamon or nutmeg, if desired. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes. (This lets the flour fully absorb the milk and eggs.)

Cut each tablespoon of butter into 6 equal pieces (equal to 1/2 teaspoon) and place a piece in 6 of the 12 muffin cups, spacing them in every other cup; repeat with the second pan. Place pans in the oven until the butter melts, about 1 minute.

Measure 1/4 cup of batter into each buttered cup.

Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Once out of the oven, the puffs will immediately begin to deflate, forming a cup for the blueberry compote. Run a knife around the edges to remove, then fill and serve immediately.

Yield: 12 pancakes

Note: Serve these with a dollop of yogurt, or shower them with powdered sugar. If you don’t have two muffin pans, you can make these in one; they’ll just get a little crowded. Nonstick pans work best.

Blueberry Compote

From Kim Ode

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, divided

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons sugar

Zest of 1 lemon, or 2 teaspoons lemon juice

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup blueberries, 3 tablespoons water, sugar and lemon zest or juice.

Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the berries start to break down. Add remaining blueberries and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

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