Mother’s Day (Off)
Let’s be honest. Mother’s Day should be renamed Mother’s Day Off. Despite those incessant department store ads, I think I speak for most moms when I say I don’t want a bunch of gifts. I don’t want more stuff in my house to keep clean or more jewelry I won’t have the chance to wear.
I don’t want more, I want less – as in, less stuff to do.
The opportunity to not only relinquish my household duties, but also have them accomplished for me, is better than any gift money can buy. After all, who wants a day off on Sunday just to have double the work on Monday?
So this Mother’s Day, I’m holding out hope that in lieu of flowers and chocolates, I’ll have the freedom to be the last one out of bed in the morning. That I’ll get to savor the Sunday paper while a team of mini-chefs prepares a hot breakfast, and that said breakfast will be served to me, rather than the other way around. And, most importantly, I’m hoping that the resulting mess in the kitchen will be cleaned up before noon.
It’s not like I’m expecting from-scratch cinnamon rolls or a smoked salmon Benedict. The beauty of breakfast is that most dishes are perfectly do-able for kids and non-cooks, so there’s no excuse not to make the morning special for mom.
Parfaits with rich yogurt and gourmet granola, scrambled eggs with good cheese, steel-cut oatmeal topped with sautéed bananas. My kids could make any of those, but the one dish they’d like to eat as much as they’d like to make is a Dutch baby. It’s like a big, custardy pancake that’s tender, sweet, comforting and effortless. The batter is simple to mix together (you can even use a blender) and when it comes out of the oven all golden and puffed, the kids get all puffed up with pride, too.
I wrote this recipe with them in mind, and they’ve tested it to ensure any kid can follow along. So, if you’re a mom, print it out and hand it over. This Sunday, you’re off the hook.
Dutch Baby With Brown Butter Apple Compote
You can make the apple compote while the Dutch baby bakes, or prepare it the day before and make the morning even easier.
¾ cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (such as Granny Smith)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
To make the Dutch baby: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, salt and vanilla until well combined (the egg should be thoroughly mixed in so that there are no streaks of yellow or blobs of egg white). Add the flour and whisk until combined (any lumps will be tiny). You can also make the batter in a blender or food processor: Add the ingredients, wet ones first, and blend until combined.
Set an oven-safe 10-inch sauté pan on the stove over medium-high heat (oven-safe means the pan doesn’t have plastic handles that could melt). Add the butter and allow it to melt, swirling it with a spoon or tilting the pan in all directions to coat. Pour in the batter and immediately place the pan in the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the Dutch baby is puffed, golden, and browned in spots.
To make the apple compote: While the Dutch baby bakes, set a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and heat until melted and you see little golden-brown bits settling on the bottom of the pan (these are the caramelized milk solids that give brown butter its name, and its toasty and nutty flavor).
Add the apple slices and sauté, turning the slices over once in a while, until they’re softened and beginning to brown in places, about 7 minutes. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, salt, lemon juice and cinnamon (if using). Cook until the sugar melts and the liquid is syrupy, about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. (You can make the compote a day or two ahead and reheat it in the microwave or in a saucepan over medium heat.)
To serve: Slice the Dutch baby in the pan into wedges, like a pie. Serve each slice with apple compote, or powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon, or fresh berries.