Last week, I left the house for parsley and bought a big-ass pack of new pens and one can of pumpkin instead. I couldn’t help it: There was a slight chill in the air, a few overachiever leaves had already started to change color, and my school supply-loving Scorpio heart was glowing orange in my chest. Fall made me do it.
I am not a zodiac person, per se; I would say my beliefs align closely with the idea that “astrology is fake, but Scorpios” —and more specifically, Scorpio season, which fast approaches—“are extremely true.” I’m not sure what, if anything, my early November birthday says about my personality, but I know that every year around this time, I start to feel like if I put on a pair of autumnal boots, I could vaporize my enemies with a single look. Just the idea of warming spices gives me strength I didn’t know I had. It might be a little early to break out the big fall baking projects, but with one can of pumpkin (and pens! unrelated) to my name, it seemed like the right moment to start small. So I did: I started with breakfast.
We tasted nine store-bought pumpkin purées to determine the very best one. Did your favorite squash the competition?
My mom made Dutch babies for us a lot growing up, but try as we might (and we try all the time), my sister and I have never been able to replicate the wild texture she achieved in our childhood kitchen. I’m prepared to say it’s her blender—I’ve done everything but use an identical machine. My mom’s Dutch babies puff in the oven but then never sink; rather than airy and souffle-like, they’re creamy and custardy, sliced into tall squares instead of crepe-like wedges. They’re different from what some people consider a true Dutch baby, but I would argue they’re better: rich, velvety, and with more surface area to cover in powdered sugar and maple syrup.
It's a little early to break out the big fall baking projects; start small with one can of pumpkin.
This pumpkin version walks the line between my mom’s and a (perhaps more typical) Dutch baby, thanks to the inclusion of a bit of pumpkin purée in the batter. This isn’t pumpkin pie filling we’re talking about—you want the unsweetened stuff (a 15-ounce can) where the only ingredient is pumpkin. Some of the pumpkin goes in the batter; you’ll cook the rest of the can down on the stove into a dark, concentrated pumpkin butter, sweetened with apple cider, maple, and cinnamon. If there are extras after you spoon this over each slice of finished Dutch baby, save it for toast, ice cream, or eating straight with a spoon.
One last tip before we get to it: Use room temperature eggs, butter, and milk, as this will help your Dutch baby rise in the oven. The resulting slice will be thick, creamy, and custardy in the center, but light along the outer edge.
To make a pumpkin Dutch baby, first place an 8-inch ovenproof skillet or cast iron pan in the oven while it preheats to 425°F. Once the oven reaches temperature (with the pan still inside—you want it to get super hot), whiz 3 eggs in a blender for a full minute, until combined and frothy.
Add ¼ cup canned pumpkin purée, then 1 cup of milk, then 1 tablespoon of butter, blending for 30 seconds after each addition. Finally, add 1 cup of flour, a pinch of salt, and a bunch of warming fall spices (I like using 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon each of nutmeg, allspice, and ground ginger) all at once. Blend everything together for a full minute, to ensure that it’s combined and airy.
Next, pull the hot pan from the oven (use an oven mitt or towel!!!) and add 2 tablespoons of butter, swirling the pan so it melts evenly across the bottom. It will bubble and brown, and that’s fine! Once it’s all melted, immediately pour in the batter from the blender and stick the pan back into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown and slightly puffed.
While the Dutch baby bakes, make the pumpkin butter. In a small saucepan, combine the rest of the can of pumpkin puree (it should be about 1 ¼ cups), ½ cup apple cider or juice, 3 tablespoons maple syrup, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Set over medium-high heat until the mixture starts to bubble, then reduce to medium and cook, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides of the pot with a spatula, until dark and thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Slice the Dutch baby (it will start to sink as soon as you take it out of the oven) and serve with the pumpkin butter and powdered sugar. It’s the perfect way to ring in the new season, even if you’re not bound by the stars to love it.Kendra Vaculin
Originally Appeared on Epicurious