Brunch is always a good idea. So much better than its lesser celebrated brother, Linner. I have spent many a weekend in my adult life lingering over a leisurely mix of salty, sweet, hearty, and comforting food options. Stuffing my face until my stomach is uncomfortably full, and walking away from the table with a sense of satisfying pride with my choices in both food and social company. While many of the emotions associated with the meal remain the same, it is my opinion that there exists an evolution all brunch-goers must go through.
In your twenties, brunch means searching for the "bottomless" places. Bottomless mimosas, bottomless sangria, bottomless bread baskets... It's all about getting bang for the very few bucks you have in your checking account. The gang was always a large group of around 10 people which meant it must be planned days if not weeks in advance. The work week seemed to drag on and the anticipation would build. The morning of always entailed running through ALL of the outfit choices and dressing up a little more than what a normal day's lunch would call for. There was almost always activities planned for afterward, involving either a football or baseball game, a music or beer/food festival, or just a day of pub crawling.
Brunch becomes an entirely different animal once you hit your thirties. The group has gotten smaller, often involving babies or at the very least lots of talk about babies. The venues aren't so much about bottomless as they are about make-your-own bloody mary's and interesting takes on eggs benedict. The outfits are more for comfort and "room to grow" stretchy pants than fashion of any sort. And the real struggle becomes the decision between a sweet or savory entree. You still look forward to it all week, but for far different reasons... sleeping in but still getting to eat breakfast.
I really enjoying making brunch at home on those days when I just couldn't be bothered to get to out of bed at a designated time or paint my face to make myself presentable for a public setting. It's such an easy meal to whip up and is always a people pleaser. This weekend I had grand ambitions to make a full spread but became less motivated after we indulged in our dutch baby "appetizer." We were so full after we devoured a full skillet of the giant baked pancake that we just couldn't go on. That's the other thing that happens when you get older, you just can't eat as much as you used to.
I made my dutch baby with fresh raspberries, a little almond extract, and some crunchy sliced almonds. It was great straight out of the oven, but a little drizzle of maple syrup really put it over the top. A great and easy dessert or a perfect start to a brunch, this baked pancake will not do you wrong. Have it plain or mix up the mix-ins. Cheers to adulting.
Recipe: Raspberry Almond Dutch Baby
yields 1 - 10-inch skillet pancake (serves ~8 people)
The Bits and Bobs:
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp almond or vanilla extract
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds
4 tbsp butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 400*F. Put a 10-inch cast iron or oven-safe skillet on the stove and heat over medium heat.
In a big bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until they turn a pale yellow and are slightly frothy. Mix in the flour, milk, extract and salt, whisking until smooth. Put the butter in the warming pan and allow to melt. Add the batter to the hot butter and give a quick mix, it does not have to be fully incorporated. Sprinkle in the almonds and raspberries so they are evenly distributed. Bake in the preheated oven for ~20 minutes until the pancake has puffed and the edges are a nice golden the brown. The center will not be as dark as the edges.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes or so then cut into slices and serve with a dusting of powdered sugar or a drizzle of maple syrup.