Healthy Cooking: A sweet recipe for the mother of all holidays

A Dutch baby pancake makes this Mother’s Day (or any Sunday) festive and fun. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES
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A Dutch baby pancake makes this Mother’s Day (or any Sunday) festive and fun. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES

Apparently, this Sunday is Mother’s Day. I’ve been so focused on the pandemic that the most emotionally loaded day of the spring sneaked up on me. Whether you are a mom, have your mom, or long for a mom, this is the day most likely to send you laugh-crying to the powder room, clutching a mimosa and a yarn noodle necklace. Friends, this Sunday, every one of us needs a good brunch.

No matter which emotion I’m eating, a Dutch baby pancake rises to the occasion. There’s pure joy in the golden puffs that appear by magic (read: eggs). When I’m overwhelmed, it comes together in less than 30 minutes, using basic pantry ingredients and no yeast. And if the pantry is really down to basic-basics, thoughtful substitutes get the job done.

Start at the end, so that the sauce is ready when your puffy goodness emerges from the oven. If you suspect your morning will be more harried than heavenly, make the sauce in advance. Here I suggest using frozen blueberries, but almost any fruit, fresh or frozen, will work. Apples, strawberries, cherries, pears and mangoes are all delightful options. You know the drill — peel and pit as needed, then cut the fruit into equally sized pieces so that they cook evenly. The cook time will vary; you know it’s done when the fruit breaks down into soft juiciness. (It will thicken as it cools.) Completely out of fruit? A splash of maple syrup, a drizzle of honey, or a sprinkle of sugar are all sweet substitutes.

Four eggs give traditional Dutch baby pancakes their yeast-free fluff. As your favorite healthy cooking columnist, I’m duty-bound to reduce the cholesterol by replacing some of the whole eggs with egg whites. But if eggs are a scarce commodity, use three whole eggs in total and move on. Similarly, I’ve replaced a third of the white flour with whole-wheat flour to add protein and fiber to our pancake. If you don’t have whole-wheat flour, a pancake made entirely from all-purpose flour is delicious, too. Consider a side of whole-grain toast to work good-for-you nutrients into the meal.

Like a souffle, your pancake will deflate shortly after it exits the oven. You can keep the excitement going with a flourish of something festive on top. Vanilla Greek yogurt adds a tasty dollop of protein. Blended frozen bananas make a delicious nonfat whipped cream substitute. And if you add a spoonful of frozen yogurt or low-fat ice cream, I’ll look the other way. It’s my Mother’s Day gift to you.

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You’ll want to prepare your blueberry sauce before you make your Dutch baby pancake. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES

You’ll want to prepare your blueberry sauce before you make your Dutch baby pancake. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES
Caption
You’ll want to prepare your blueberry sauce before you make your Dutch baby pancake. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES

Mother’s Day Dutch Baby Pancake

Mother’s Day Dutch Baby Pancake
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons honey, divided
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • 2 large eggs plus 3 large egg whites
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar (optional)
  • Place the frozen blueberries, 1 tablespoon honey and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a small pot over medium heat. Cook, breaking down the fruit with a wooden spoon, approximately 10 minutes. Remove the blueberry sauce from the heat, stir in lemon juice if using, and set aside. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Can be made in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.
  • Place 1 tablespoon honey, 2 teaspoons vanilla, eggs, egg whites, milk, flours and salt in the jar of a blender. Blend on high for 10 seconds, scraping down the sides halfway through, until no lumps remain. The batter will be very thin. Allow the batter to rest while the oven heats.
  • Arrange the oven racks so that the top rack is in the middle of the oven. Place a 12-inch diameter oven-safe skillet, well-seasoned cast iron is preferred, on the top rack and heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Carefully remove the hot skillet and add the butter to it. Swirl the melted butter so that the bottom and sides of the skillet are greased. Pour the batter into the skillet (the melted butter will bubble up around the batter) and return the skillet to the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the Dutch baby pancake is puffy and golden brown on top.
  • Remove the skillet from the oven. Pour the blueberry sauce over the pancake. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Serve immediately in the hot skillet. Serves 4-6.

Nutritional information

Per serving: (based on 4) 329 calories (percent of calories from fat, 28), 12 grams protein, 48 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 10 grams fat (5 grams saturated), 126 milligrams cholesterol, 376 milligrams sodium.

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